The show — which aired on Jan. 6 — featured Harvey mocking the title of self-help books. After showing the cover of “How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men,” Harvey launched into a minute-long monologue about how no women — white or otherwise — would ever go out with an Asian man.
Watch the segment below:
“Excuse me, do you like Asian men?” Harvey asked rhetorically. “No. Thank you.”
“You like Asian men?” he asked again. “I don’t even like Chinese food, boy. It don’t stay with you no time. I don’t eat what I can’t pronounce.” Harvey then doubled over while the audience uncomfortably laughed.
Members of the Asian American community did not find the segment humorous.
In an open letter to The New York Times, author Eddie Huang — whose memoir “Fresh Off the Boat” was turned in an ABC sitcom — said Harvey perpetuated the stereotype that “women don’t want Asian men.” Huang adds: “He speaks openly about issues facing the black community, he is a man of God, and he has a huge platform to speak from. Unfortunately, he’s also the type of guy who orders Krug champagne for himself and Cook’s for every one else. For his own personal profit, he’s willing to perpetuate the emasculation of Asian men regardless of how hypocritical it is.”
Last Thursday, a spokesman for “The Steve Harvey Show” issued a statement to Buzzfeed. “Steve Harvey was poking fun at unusual book titles in a comedic segment from Friday’s show,” it read. “His comments were never meant to demean the Asian community and the show sincerely apologizes to anyone who was offended.”
On Friday, Harvey — who had not apologized personally — said, “I ain’t been laughing that much over the past few days. They’re kinda beating me up on the internet right now for no reason. But, you know, that’s life, ain’t it?”
Apparently, Harvey figured out the reason for the backlash, tweeting a personal apology on Tuesday morning.
“I offer the humblest apology for offending anyone, particularly those in the Asian community, last week. It was not my intention and the humor was not meant with any malice or disrespect whatsoever,” he wrote.
The mea culpa came on the comedian’s 60th birthday and two weeks before he is scheduled to host the Miss Universe pageant in Manila, Philippines.