Chevy Chase uses the N word in on-set Community rant against his bigoted character

This story saddens me on several levels. The main thing is that it reminds me that “Community” still has no release date. It also reminds me that the showrunner and creator, Dan Harmon, was fired, perhaps in no small part to his public feud with one of the main stars, Chevy Chase. In April, we heard a leaked voicemail from Chevy chewing out Harmon, calling him an “alcoholic” and a “fat sh*t” and telling him to “suck my c*ck.” Apparently Harmon criticized Chevy in a speech at the season three wrap party, and told Chevy, in front of Chevy’s wife and daughter, to F off. So Chevy was responding to that incident.

In this latest rant, Chevy, who plays wet wipes mogul Pierce Hawthorne, apparently got annoyed at what a bumbling bigot his character is, so he yelled something like “what’s next, am I going to say the word n*****?” He is said to have apologized immediately, but the damage was already done. This is a tale of a guy who plays a raging racist on television actually behaving like one offscreen. He doesn’t even have the excuse of being mad at Harmon, since he’s out of the picture now.

Chevy Chase caught some major flack for using the “N-word” on the set of NBC show “Community” Friday, but the outspoken actor has since apologized for his verbal outburst, insisting that his rant was not directed at any of his African-American cast members.

Chase, 69, reportedly used the offensive word to air his frustrations about his character’s increasingly bigoted views.

According to TMZ, the actor was unhappy with the kind of dialogue he was being presented with, and angrily suggested that he might be next told to call Donald Glover’s character Troy or Yvette Nicole Brown’s character Shirley the “N-word.”

TV Line reports that production of the show was briefly halted before Chase apologized for his outburst.

The former “Saturday Night Live” comedian also “apologized immediately” to his “Community” costars.

Chase made headlines earlier this year for his hot-headed spats with show creator Dan Harmon.

In April, Chase called Harmon “fat” and “an alcoholic” in a leaked voicemail after the showrunner roasted the actor for walking off the set during the filming of some crucial scenes.
“I don’t get talked to like that by anyone. Certainly not in front of my wife and daughter you goddamn a–,” Chase ranted in the voicemail. “I’ve got nothing to say to you, except you can s–k my c–k. Is that clear?”

Harmon was later dismissed from the show.

“Community” was originally set to premiere last Friday, Oct. 19, but NBC has since rescheduled its premiere for an undetermined date.

[From The NY Daily News]

So Harmon is off, Chevy is still around, and he’s acting like a jerk and a bigot, just like Pierce. We won’t see this brilliant show again for some time. There’s one good thing to come out of this story – if they’re still pissing off Chevy, they might be trying to stay true to Harmon’s original vision. Plus, it’s promising to me that they’re still filming. I’m worried that the show will be an unfunny imitation of its former self when it finally comes back to television, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Oh and as for the premiere date, I got all excited when I saw this “Community” Halloween photo over on E! Online. It looks like Jeff is a vampire and Britta is his wench dinner. The caption on E! gave me so much hope that Community is coming back next week. They write “Joel McHale and Gillian Jacobs, “Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps!” (Thursday, Oct. 27), NBC” but that was last year’s episode and it aired in 2011. *shakes fist at sky*

Here’s a link to a video where Troy and Abed explain when Community is coming back. Basically whenever the powers that be make a decision, which hasn’t happened yet.

Update: A lot of you are commenting that you don’t find Chevy bigoted for using the word in this particular context, where he’s raging against his racist character. I have updated the title so that it’s more accurate. Personally I find it bigoted to use the word at all, when he could have said “The N Word” or something similar to get across his same point. I hear you though and hope that the title better conveys what happened.

Photo credit: Pacific Coast News, NBC

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

55 Responses to “Chevy Chase uses the N word in on-set Community rant against his bigoted character”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. mln76 says:

    Black woman here…What he said was unfortunate but please lets remember in what context he was using the word.. .Sounds like he was genuinely overcome and didn’t mean it in a bigoted way but was literally trying to say stop making me look like a racist.
    He should definitely apologize and he looks like an ass but I wouldn’t characterize him as a bigot.

    • whatthehell456 says:

      This. I think that making it out to be like he went on this racist rant is completely incorrect.

    • Erinn says:

      I think people are blowing it out of proportion. I do think he should apologize for using the word- BUT the context in which he used it means a lot.

      I watch the show. I’ve seen every episode a handful of times by now. His character is supposed to be a bigot, and tends to say a lot of offensive things.

      By the sounds, he’s getting frustrated with the character, and the lines he gets, and is speaking out about that.

    • gigi says:

      I’m black myself and I thought it was offensive and unnecessary. He is a racist ass,sounds like he is ruining it for the rest of the cast members.

    • V4Real says:

      @ min76 I agree. It seems he is frustrated with the amount of bigotry they are adding to his script. To him maybe they are really trying to push the envelope with his character and he’s saying hey come on, that’s enough. What’s next are you guys going to make me use the word n–ger. I hate when headlines try to twist things to make them seem like more than what they are.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s how I read it too.

      The atmosphere on that set has to be very uncomfortable though, between Chevy’s attitude and Harmon being given the boot. I think they were both in the wrong in that situation, and have let their conflict affect things both on and off screen. It all seems vindictive and childish.
      Maybe it’s time for Chevy to retire as well.

    • Lucinda says:

      I don’t get how he is being racist. He is pointing out how racist his character is and how he is offended by that. He’s making it clear how wrong he is by saying what he expects to hear out of his character’s mouth next and saying it is terrible. I guess another example is if he were playing a misogynist and asked if his character was going to be calling the next woman a c**t. Would we be offended then? It’s the same thing. I personally would be pleased if he said something like that. It isn’t like we never hear the n word. It’s used all the time. He’s actually saying how wrong it it. So confused.

    • Amanda G says:

      I agree with you, I was expecting something much worse when I read the title if this gossip item. He probably should have said “the n word” but he got caught up in the moment.

    • jaye says:

      I’m also a black woman and I agree with your take on this. He shouldn’t have said the word, but to classify this as a “racist rant” or Chase as a bigot is unfair.

  2. SleepyJane says:

    He’s an old racist fart on the downside of the life cycle. How on earth does that word just ‘slip out’? Sad sad man.

  3. fabgrrl says:

    I think that the title of this post is quite misleading. Chevy Chase was ranting about the kind of things his *character* would have to say. And it is perfectly clear that he, Chevy Chase, would be upset at having to say such a terrible thing. Chevy Chase is certainly a lot of things, and has plenty of issues, but I think calling him a bigot for this incident is uncalled for.

  4. Dragonlady Sakura says:

    This is disappointing to hear. I’m a fan of Chevy Chase, so bigoted remarks are unforgivable even in jest.

  5. keats says:

    I’m confused a little. I mean, he wasn’t actually calling anyone anything, right? He was just saying that he’s upset that his character would say that? Am I missing something?

  6. Naye in VA says:

    Maaayyybeee Im reading it wrong. It sounds like he was upset about how overtly bigoted his character is and used the word to describe how far the character was being taken. As a black woman Im kind of okay with it, and a little upset that he is being called a bigot himself when he didnt use the slur towards somebody, or even as a joke, or to sound cool.

  7. Mira says:

    Wasn’t Chevy complaining about his character? How does that make him a bigot?

  8. Celebitchy says:

    I hear you guys, I’ll switch up the title. I still feel that it was bigoted to actually use the word when he could have said “The N Word” and gotten his point across the same. It seemed unnecessary. I’ll update, and I do take your comments into consideration.

    • Maxine says:

      I guess my reply would be that his character doesn’t use the term “The N Word” and I think by him actually using “The N Word” it makes his point that much more starkly. How much further is this character going to go before it’s beyond offensive? He was trying to make a point, he made it fairly effectively.

    • mln76 says:

      Personally I think calling too much bigoted takes away from genuine racist events. Compare this to Michael Richards telling hecklers in the audience that they were a ‘bunch of n—-s’ lumping in this mistake by Chevy in the same category really takes the juice out of how awful what Richards did was.
      Just my opinion.

  9. LeeLoo says:

    Out of everyone who has misused the N word Chevy Chase offends me the least. Especially when it is in relation to his character on Community. That being said, unless Chevy wishes to take over writing duties of Community he needs to learn to STFU. He’s an actor, not a writer. I get wanting to have a say from time to time with a character an actor has grown intimate with (i.e. “I think my character would say it this way, not the way it is written”) but Chevy’s criticisms are absolutely ridiculous. His job is to read the lines, not write them. He signed up to play this character, so play him already.

  10. Naye in VA says:

    Also, I dont think the use of certain words, automatically makes somebody a bigot, or a racist, or a general douchebag. Nobody is calling Louis CK a racist for the jokes in his standup. I think context needs to be taken into account before we stake and burn people. Not that im giving people carte blanche to say whatever, they should be smarter than that. But …yea arms dont need to be taken up.

    And if somebody disrespected me in front of my wife and kids, you better believe im poppin off like bacon grease.

    • mln76 says:

      Yeah exactly the N-word is definitely used in the comedic community by white comics such as Louis CK. I think if he hadn’t been in the middle of a temper tantrum the context wouldn’t have been so upsetting.
      Unpopular opinion but I do think that the black rapper’s use of the word and comfortability with that word has made non-racist white people more likely to use the word. Personally I’m was more offended when Goopy tweeted the N-word (or let her rapper friend) because she was being so blase.

    • jc126 says:

      Agreed, agreed, agreed. And just mere USE of a word makes you a racist, as someone else said? Give me a break. I would’ve said “the n word” to get my point across if I were him, because I don’t like that word, but using the word in a rant about *not* using the word isn’t racist at all.

      I love Community. I hate that Dan Harmon is gone, and I hope the new season is still good, but I’m nervous that without him it won’t be as funny.

  11. Maxine says:

    Another black woman here. . . . agree with mln76. I’m failing to see the “bigotry” – if anything – sounds like he was railing against the direction his character was going in and saying when is it going to stop?

    I think his apology goes more to his flying of the handle generally and not acting professionally, and maybe acting like an overgrown baby so I’m not saying his behavior isn’t offensive, but more in the realm of him acting like a petulant 3 year old than a 60 year old Klan member.

  12. jamminatorr says:

    Chevy Chase has always been an ass… really. Read multiple SNL memoirs and he’s always portrayed as an ass. Bill Murray has publicly called him out. Community USED to mock this but looks like Chevy is taking things too seriously. I love community and I’m pissed that Chevy is continuing to bring the drama.

    • Minty says:

      I agree. On an SNL anniversary special a while back, Jane Curtin said Chevy was a pain to work with, IIRC. She also said John Belushi went out of his way to sabotage the skits by female writers because he thought women weren’t funny. Jerk. Chevy also was reported to harass women on the set. Looks like he hasn’t changed much.

  13. Jess says:

    I’m normally pretty sensitive to anything that sounds racist (and as much as I love Chevy on-screen I totally believe he’s a class A jerk in real life) but I have to say that I don’t find this racist. He’s offended by what his character is doing. And while I always use the N-word (if I have to refer to it at all), I’ve read arguments that it’s actually worse to say “the N-word” instead of using the actual, hateful word itself (e.g., when repeating this story to people). So I don’t see that this is any indication that he’s racist. But the dude definitely has anger issues.

  14. aims says:

    I feel that its just an inexcusable word, period. It should never be used in any context, ever. I understand that you have to understand how the person was using the word. Still for me, it makes me really uncomfortable.

  15. Sam says:

    I don’t find it offensive in that context. If you’ve seen the show Pierce is pretty bigoted in his comments to the other characters. I don’t know what line they were having him say, but if it is any worse than some of the other things he’s had to say, I could see him asking what the heck man, are you going to make me say _____ next?!? I don’t think he was saying it in a way that was meant to be offensive. That being said, Chevy is a huge douche and I would be first in line to jump down his throat for saying something like that, if I had thought he was really saying it with the intent to hurt other people.

  16. Freakieness says:

    Mexican woman here, I am really confused when people get mad about this word. In my country we can talk to each other saying “n*gr*” or an equivalent and nobody feels like being insulted. Does it have to do with the fact that there was miscegenation in here? I don’t want to offend anyone, I just am really interested in this type of problems.

    • Dark X says:

      A lot of people get “offended” by the word because there is money or power in it for them if they are “offended”. However, the “offended” parties are free to use it whenever they please.

      Does that clear it up for you?

    • mln76 says:

      I’m honestly more offended by Dark X then Chevy.

      The word is considered offensive because in the US white slave owners and racists used the word to connote that Africans were less than human. Also ‘negro’ which simply means black in Spanish while not what we would call ourselves isn’t the N-word.
      Black Rappers claim to be taking back the word to empower themselves personally I think its more a sign of the ignorant ghetto culture they come from.

      • Freakieness says:

        Thank you, mln76… I really didn’t get if Dark X was angry at me or actually trying to explain.
        I can say that here in Mexico have something similar to “negro”, people get mad if you call them “indio”. I remember that a monk wrote to the king of Spain that the “indios” were animals that look like humans.

      • jaye says:

        This. A million times. I hate the word, I am offended by it when it’s used to denigrate and when rappers use in such a blase manner in an attempt to “own” the word, and I don’t get a dime in my pocket or an ounce of power because I’m offended by it.

  17. VV says:

    I love Community. LOVE it. But I have to say even I am kind of tired of the Pierce character getting progressively more bigoted etc.

    I can understand Chase’s frustrations but definitely saying that word is not going to win him any sympathy! What a goon.

    However, I would like to see the character written a bit better. There are times I LOVE Pierce and the things he says are so awful or greatly timed, and other times I kinda groan inwardly.

    On an unrelated note, I cannot get enough of Troy and Abed! (sings to self “Troy and Abed in the morning!”)

    • Erinn says:

      See, I was thinking they were going to make the character better once he discovered his brother. I still have a little hope for him. He’s gotten better about gay people, if only marginally.

      Honestly… Peirce is one of my favorites. He and Troy get the most hilarious lines. I only like Britta occasionally.

  18. Dark X says:

    The show really sucks. I hope this puts a nail in its coffin, so that a good show can take its place.

    • Sofie says:

      The show isn’t even on the schedule so how would a “good show” take it’s place? And considering NBC is waiting for another show to bomb so they can fit Community in the schedule, I really doubt they’re going to develop a new “good show” either.

  19. JM says:

    Your article is messed up. His point was that he does NOT want to come across as racist. . . yes he used a strong word but do you honestly think saying “the N-word” would be better? It’s the same thing!

    Better than chastizing Chevy would be to question why the writers are turning his character in this direction. He was plenty funny in the first season w/o the bigoted stuff.

  20. Jenna says:

    Agree with everything that’s already been said about the context of the word’s use; but it doesn’t excuse the fact that Chevy sounds like an ass in other situations. -sigh-


  21. MG says:

    I hate that word!!! I think he made an ass of himself but given the context, I wouldn’t say he is a bigot.

  22. Lisa says:

    Um, I don’t think Yvette Nicole Brown was impressed. I’ve never liked this asshole. I thought he was a prick on SNL, and none of his costars have ever had anything redeeming to say about him.

  23. phoenix says:

    I think it was disrespectful to his black costars to use the word. That is probably why production halted. They got mad. If he was talking one on one to a writer that’s one thing, but in a rehearsal or whatever it puts his costars in an akward position. It’s not their problem so why should they have to hear his metaphor.

  24. Holden says:

    Yeah, he’s frustrated that he’s playing a bigot and using an extreme example of what he finds distasteful about his character. The fact that he’s frustrated means he’s disgusted by anyone that would act that way. But he is still generally an asshole.

  25. charmnsass says:

    I think it’s ridiculous to even for a second suggest that he was being racist. He’s upset with the lines he’s being given; to exemplify this he used a word describing how ridiculous and terrible a line his character seems (to him) about to cross. I am 100% anti use of this word, but it just didn’t strike me as indicative of his personal views towards black people; in fact quite the opposite.

  26. sam1925 says:

    I’m really surprised that this is such a scandal. He didn’t call anybody that word. It’s a huge leap to claim that Chevy is a bigot given the context of his statement. He could have been more politically correct but it seems much ado about nothing.

  27. FendiInc says:

    How meta can you get? A guy who is pointing out his hatred of being forced to embody a racist is kinda not a racist.

    Liberalism is getting out of hand.

    Jumped the shark.

  28. CMK says:

    No person should ever have the n-word come out of their mouth unless they are black, especially a white man. Not ever. Just not cool. In my opinion, it’s totally racist, who the f–k cares if it’s not directed at anyone? It’s an incredibly offensive word and no white person should ever let it leave their mouth.