Warning: Language may offend some readers
Another day, another leftist bothered by Tim Allen. This time, the man behind Last Man Standing, is in trouble with the Twitter mob because he admitted that he did not know how to play the game spades which they insisted was more evidence that the Trump-supporting anomaly from Hollywood indeed hates black people. Why? Well in addition to this interview, while discussing the n-word six years ago with a black reporter, the comedian pondered why white comics cannot push social norms anymore by saying it in stand up routines.
In an interview tweeted out by journalist Xilla Valentine, the blogger told Toy Story co-stars, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, that each of them had a "black card" and that he was going to interview them on "black culture." He then begins to throw out a hypothetical scenario while playing the game spades, asking the voices behind Pixar's Woody and Buzz what their respective moves would be in the game.
Hanks, for his part, immediately knows what Valentine is referring to and responds that he would "go all out." Allen says he has been working Vegas for 30 years, but he does not play cards. Hanks interjects and says there is not any money involved necessarily, to which Allen says "I have no idea what you're talking about." Hanks says, "you don't know how to play spades?" to which his co-star says, "I'm going to pretend I do cause I want to move on now."
The interview is lighthearted and humorous, seemingly without animosity between any of the participants. The video can be seen here.
Tom Hanks is so cool I tested his knowledge of black culture. pic.twitter.com/aGrJdD1Qjh— The All-Mighty Xilla Valentine (@BlogXilla) June 11, 2019
But for some viewers, all they say is that this more proof that Allen is a bigot.
Tim Allen is openly racist now and I love seeing him squirm here. https://t.co/yxeZXY0ozT— jeremy bearimy (@crissles) June 11, 2019
Thrillst reviewer Scott Weinberg, tweeted, "I love that Disney gave James Gunn shit for some gross jokes when they keep backing the money truck up to racist bigot coke mule Tim Allen's house."
I love that Disney gave James Gunn shit for some gross jokes when they keep backing the money truck up to racist bigot coke mule Tim Allen's house.— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) June 12, 2019
The reactions on Twitter led the company to give the interview a "moment," in other words promoted content by Twitter executives pointing website members to the interviews and subsequent reactions.
However, some people criticizing Allen, like Weinberg, insisted it was not the fact that Allen was unaware of what spades was that made him racist, but previous comments from an interview from six years ago.
"I never said Tim Allen is a stupid f*cking bigot because he doesn't know how to play spades. Sheesh. Relax, people. He's a stupid f*cking bigot for saying sh*t like this," he tweeted.
I never said Tim Allen is a stupid fucking bigot because he doesn't know how to play spades. Sheesh. Relax, people.— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) June 12, 2019
He's a stupid fucking bigot for saying shit like this. pic.twitter.com/oT44f40c0Y
Weinberg then says that he cannot find the original interview anymore and posts quotes taken out of context from secondary sources. Townhall found the original interview, and as mentioned before, both the race of the interviewer and the interviewer's description could offer a different viewpoint on the controversy.
In the 2013 Tampa Bay Times interview with the black reporter named Eric Deggans, Allen says that for him, a comedian using the n-word is not racist if there is not any actual racism behind it.
In fact, he told the reporter at the time that "the criticism that keeps any nonblack comic from using the word is a step backward from the days when [Richard] Pryor and [Lenny] Bruce were breaking comedy boundaries by purposefully using street language in ways middle-of-the-road comics wouldn't dare."
As Deggans says, Allen discussed in nuance why he feels that way about the n-word. "'You want to take the power away from that word so that no one is offended by it,'" he added, telling a 50-year-old joke by Bruce about how President Kennedy could defuse slurs by using them to describe Jewish, Italian and black people in his cabinet. "'If I have no intent, if I show no intent, if I clearly am not a racist, then how can 'n-----' be bad coming out of my mouth?'"
In the interview, Allen also admits that he sees comedy as a sort of anarchy and one that can push acceptable boundaries to defuse language. So did the interviewer, a black man, describe Tim Allen as racist?
Now, here is how Deggans characterized Allen.
Tim Allen wants to talk about the n-word.
He doesn't want to use that often-derided euphemism, either. He says the word itself with a directness that hearkens to his self-professed comedy heroes, Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce.
But it also comes close to sounding like a well-meaning white guy who may not understand how tenuous the ground he's walking on could become. "(The phrase) 'the n-word' is worse to me than n-----,' " said Allen, who spoke to me on a day when the controversy ignited over Paula Deen's admitted use of that slur in 1986.
So in Deggan's mind Allen was not a racist, but a "well-meaning white guy" who may not be aware of how sensitive the subject is. Even at the time, however, others completely disagreed with that assessment. Academic Michael Eric Dyson said that his comments were proof that Allen "wants to move from ally to reassume the appropriate privilege of whiteness, which is to dictate the terms of the debate...Look, y'all invented the n-word. We didn't invent it." Some readers probably agree with Dyson, others differentiate between comedy and non-comedic conversations. Regardless, even Weinberg admits that Tim Allen, despite disagreeing with his views on the n-word, can produce some good in the world. In response to Allen visiting sick children in a hospital, Weinberg tweeted, "Obviously I'm not a Tim Allen fan, but fair is fair. Here he's visiting kids in a hospital, and that's classy."
Obviously I'm not a Tim Allen fan, but fair is fair. Here he's visiting kids in a hospital, and that's classy. https://t.co/fEe6CXYsHz— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) June 12, 2019