Danny DeVito: ‘It’s unfortunate that the entire country is a racist country’


Surprisingly (I guess?), the Sundance Film Festival is the new venue within which celebrities are talking about #OscarsSoWhite. In between chatting about his new film at Sundance, Danny DeVito chimed in on the Oscars controversy, expanding the issue to the entire country. DeVito told the AP that Americans are “a bunch of racists.” There’s more:

“It’s unfortunate that the entire country is a racist country. This is one example of the fact that even though some people have given great performances in movies they weren’t even thought about. We are living in a country that discriminates and has certain racist tendencies so sometimes it’s manifested in things like this and it’s illuminated. But just generally speaking we’re racists. We are a bunch of racists.”

[From People]

If you’re interested in reading DeVito expounding on the subject of America’s racism, you can read his Daily Beast interview here. He talks about the need for a truth & reconciliation movement within America so that we can learn about our own history of genocide and xenophobia. While I don’t 100% agree with everything he says, DeVito’s words are a welcome relief from some of the statements we’ve heard recently.

Also at Sundance? Don Cheadle, promoting his long-gestating Miles Davis bio-pic Miles Ahead. Cheadle was also asked about the Oscar boycott & all of that stuff, and he basically said that he believes that Chris Rock should stick with hosting the Oscars and “there is just so much fodder there that he could just skewer society. And that’s what I want him to do. I want him to take everybody to task over this.”



Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

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69 Responses to “Danny DeVito: ‘It’s unfortunate that the entire country is a racist country’”

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  1. Kitten says:

    I haven’t read the whole piece yet but this quote was a good one. Love DeVito’s work on Always Sunny.

    • Erinn says:


      I haven’t started the new Sunny season… just binge watched season 10 last week, and started rewatching the older ones. Devito is hilarious on that show.

    • aang says:

      I agree. He is so good on Always Sunny.

    • BengalCat2000 says:

      My new bf turned me on to IASIP and I’m in love with it! Can’t believe it took me so long to get into it!

      • Nia says:

        Contemplating on whether or not to start watching. I am now going to start watching. Thanks for the input!

    • lucy2 says:

      Bringing him onto Sunny was the best thing ever. I love the insanely sick relationship he has with Charlie.

      • the original rachel says:

        The scene with DeVito emerging from the couch naked … I have literally never laughed so hard in my entire life. My husband thought I was having a seizure. I must have replayed the scene 20 times and every time I just lost it. That show is so wrong and sooooo funny and DeVito is the best.

      • lucy2 says:

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who immediately thinks of that scene when it comes to DeVito/Sunny.

    • Magpie says:

      I have a friend who works on that show and says DD is just the greatest guy ever.

  2. Pinky says:

    Don Cheadle as Miles will be EPIC!

    Oh, and right on, DeVito!


  3. BeeBee says:

    He’s absolutely right. But let’s never forget for one minute that rampant racism emits from all races, colours. and creeds. It’s not a one trick white pony.

    • Brittney B. says:

      Actually, racism isn’t as simple as “making preconceived notions based on someone else’s race”. It’s institutional discrimination against minority races; it’s an oppressive system that keeps one race in power and denies opportunities to other races.

      So, no. It doesn’t emit from all races, colours and creeds. Black and Hispanic and Asian Americans are not capable of oppressing white people, because white people retain the social and economic advantage no matter what. They hold all the power, and racism keeps it that way. It most DEFINITELY is a white problem.

      Other races may participate in it — for example, a Venezuelan immigrant treating her black employees worse than her Hispanic and white employees is an example of racism — but it still contributes to a system that overwhelmingly favors people who have lighter skin. But if black people treat white people worse than other black people? They are not contributing to a system that oppresses white people. (If anything, they’re reacting to a system in which white people oppress them.)

      Just as women can participate in the patriarchy and discriminate against other women to keep men on top, other races can participate in racism that keeps white people on top.

      Though… now I realize that might be what you were talking about.

      • BeeBee says:

        Yes, Brittney, THAT was what I was talking about. 😉

      • Nancy says:

        BB: Now your comment should be a headline. It comes from the heart and said articulately and with thought out intelligent facts. Congrats

      • jammypants says:

        Exactly so! I’m quite tired of white folks crying “Racism!” when they can’t even see their own privilege in society and just by having white skin, their opportunities are much greater in life than a minority.

      • SKF says:

        This is very true but I think the other commenter might have been talking more globally? At least that’s how I perceived it. I travel the globe for work and, let me tell you, racism (basic and institutional) is alive and well all across the globe and perpetrated by people of all races. Of course in America institutional racism is to the benefit of the white majority; but elsewhere it works in other ways. In any case, the best thing we can do is listen, learn, try to understand the perspective and challenges of others, and try to effect change, starting with ourselves.

      • Alice too says:

        I’m sorry, but BeeBee is right. It’s easy to think of it the way you have described from a first world mentality. But having spent almost half of my life in 2nd and 3rd world countries, I can say from observation that in Africa, they discriminate against other each other based on tribal affliation and skin tone has nothing to do with it. In Asia, they do the same to each other and it has nothing to do with skin tone. Same for the Middle East, although there it tends to be religious based discrimination.

        While one might argue that it’s “tribalism” and not rascism, the phenomena of one group oppressing another for economic and social gain as described by Brittaney is not limited to a black/white scenario.

    • Jess says:

      “But let’s never forget for one minute that rampant racism emits from all races, colours. and creeds.”

      Yes lets focus on other minorities since they clearly have so many positions of power and influence to change the hundreds of years of institutionalized racism in the US….

      I don’t get why this point is brought up when the topic is about Hollywood racism and discrimination (which is an industry mostly controlled by white people). It’s like commenting on a story about breast cancer awareness and writing “But let’s not forget that there’s OTHER types of cancer that kills people as well, why aren’t we focusing on that!”…. Maybe because the main topic at hand is Breast cancer awareness…

      • jammypants says:

        I never understand that either. People lose so much focus when a singular topic is being discussed. It diminishes each topic’s significance.

  4. Lora says:

    Finally a good quote!

  5. QQ says:

    Whoop! this one came ready to be real! *standing Ovation*

  6. Jess says:

    I don’t know if I’d go as extreme as Danny but I agree that there is institutional racism that still exists throughout our society, so in that sense we are still a racist society. And we definitely need a better education about our history of racism (against all groups but particularly African-Americans). I bring this up all the time when arguing about cops and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We need to educate everyone on the history of how cops have treated African-Americans in our society – from enforcing fugitive slave laws to attack civil rights protesters, the history of how cops treat black Americans still influences their institution to this day.

  7. Rainbow says:

    At first i thought it was him holding the Louis Vuitton bag in the last photo 😑

    • Minnie1 says:

      Yes, there is still some racism in the country, but I would like DeVito to explain why the country embraced and voted in, not once, but twice our current president.

      • Kitten says:

        Yes and look at how well that turned out! The country is now cured of racism. Yay!

        Actually, what really happened: POTUS couldn’t even discuss his experience as a black man in this country without some white folks losing their sh*t and accusing him of racism. Between the birther debate, the political caricatures of Pres Obama as a shoe-shiner or chimp, and then the persistent accusations that Pre Obama is a Muslim because OMG he’s brown well I think we can all agree that none of that would have happened if Obama had been a white man.

        All his presidency did was serve to highlight people’s undercover (and not-so-undercover) racism, that’s all.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        1. Because any of the multitudes of reasons one of which was that Obama appealed to younger voters and that McCain shot himself in the foot allowing Sarah Palin to speak.

        2. Because Mitt Romney was caught on tape being all cliche rich guy and saying more than half the country is just greedy and wants welfare. Literally people point to that moment as the moment his campaign was doomed.

        Of course that’s not addressing the amount of disrespect, racism, and ignorance Obama has faced. Up to and including have members of the political sphere scream and call him a liar and people play confused like he just has to be Kenyan.

      • Minnie1 says:

        Kitten: Once elected maybe, but twice elected???

        An by the way, I have noticed a whole lot of hatred, on this site being directed to Palin, Trump, etc. I tend to think that directing vitriol to people who don’t agree with your ideas is merely a different sort of prejudice, but it seems to be acceptable prejudice.

      • whatevers says:

        Yeah Obama being President does not mean racism no longer exists.

      • Elsie Otter says:

        “I have a black friend so explain how I’m racist.”

      • censored says:

        Only 39% of the white populace voted for Obama a whopping 61% did not it was the overwhelming showing with minorities that brought him over the top.This was only possible because white people now make up roughly 70% of the pop down from the mid to high 80 something percents of yesteryear
        Of the 39% who voted for him , some I assume always vote Democrat , some thought he was truly the best candidate ,some though he was the lesser of two evils i.e a Palin in the White house and some were tired of Bush Style Gov

      • Moneypenny says:

        @censored, I was coming to type exactly the same thing. white voters favored Romney by 20 POINTS. That does not account for party differences, so something else was at play. Obama won twice in spite of a lot of people not wanting that to happen.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        Minnie, he was re-elected because he was doing a pretty good job and incumbents always have an advantage, plus he is a gifted political candidate and he also made sure a lot more formerly disenfranchised voters were able to vote. As well, his opponent had multiple Achilles’ heels. And it still felt like a cliff-hanger because of entrenched racism. Watch how nice the Congress will play with the next president, because the next president, even if a Democrat, will still be white.

      • Goodnight says:

        Are you serious? Minorities have to put up with constant shit and swallow it because of free speech and people’s rights to their ignorant opinions. Please don’t pretend that their frustration and anger is the same thing as a rich straight white guy’s disgust with them.

        The ‘you’re prejudiced against my prejudice’ argument is ridiculous.

  8. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    The quote “A system cannot fail those it was never designed to protect.” comes to my mind every few days.

    I don’t think each individual person living in America is racist, but I do think overall we’re in a time period where a racist system is experiencing pushback on a national level.

    Where we are no longer blindly accepting the words of police or in this case cheerfully assuming we’ll be given respect simply if we rise to a position of power or work hard enough. As frivolous as some may consider it I think this Oscars issue encapsulates much of the issue with discussing race in America.

    I think a lot of people, even without intending to, do what the Academy Voters did (at least regarding anonymous confessions) and just assume it’s someone else’s issue and that they don’t have to do any extra work. That even if the system produces a flaw (all white nominees) that it’s just some mysterious coincidence and not people refusing to become invested and look outside the box. That if they don’t do outreach on their part as someone with the luxury of being in a position of power that it’s okay. Because ultimately they’re not racist, and as long as they can tell themselves that they can comfortably ignore everyone/thing else.

  9. Algernon says:

    He’s so right about the need to be frank and unflinching regarding our own history. Whenever I hear people say the Civil War was about states’ rights I want to explode. The only right the Confederate states cared about was the right to own other human beings. I always remind people of that and they’re like, “No, there was other stuff…” If asked what “other stuff” there was, not one single person has ever, in 20 years, been able to name one thing. Further, when pointing out that Lincoln had multiple opportunities to prevent or end the war early, he never did because the one thing the Confederate states insisted on retaining was slavery, I am always met with uncomfortable silence. But we simply cannot rewrite that history. It’s not pretty, it is shameful, and we shouldn’t be proud of any of it, but it’s ours and we can’t forget it. For better or worse it’s where we come from, and we owe it to our better selves to understand what, exactly, we’re trying to get right in this era.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      According to Texas you can totally rewrite that history.

      Just change slaves to ‘workers’ in the textbooks.

      We have a nation with a large enough population of individuals still angry the South lost that someone like Donald Trump is considered a god-send.

      • InvaderTak says:

        For the record, that used ‘workers’ like that was one text book and it was a McGraw-Hill national publication. Texas educators weren’t involved in the writing. It was a geography book too, and the replacing of ‘slaves’ with ‘workers’ happened in a caption on a map. It went through a public review process and it wasn’t caught. M-H changed it in their online version immediately, and I’m honestly not sure what happened to the books. But it wasn’t a systematic rewrite of history as you suggest. I’m not saying that TX doesn’t have problems, ( I live here and I went to school here) not at all-but that didn’t happen like that. It was a specific incident that got called out and corrected.


      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Thank you for clarifying the issue Invader Tak, I’m happy that it wasn’t as widespread of an issue as I thought it to be.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Amen, thank you!

    • Katy says:

      Slavery was part of it but the cause of the Civil War was primarily based on economics and the Industrial Revolution threatening the Cotton industry and the wealth in the South. People probably had uncomfortable silence because they knew you were wrong.

  10. Shambles says:

    I think he was speaking about the fact that this country was built on a structure of institutional racism and that the entire system is just f*cked, before anyone says, “But I’M not racist #notallamericans”

    • Kitten says:



      • Shambles says:

        And don’t you know that all the #alllivesmatter folks were SO happy to have him for two terms, because his presidency gave them the opportunity to show us just how gross, ignorant, and backward some of our fellow Americans are.

    • sanders says:

      Don’t forget appropriation of Native lands too.

      Here is a quote from an article I read this morning.

      “This nation has never made account for the crimes of genocide and slavery. Generation after generation of Americans were taught in our public schools that the native population had to give way to the manifest destiny of a superior civilization and the great Civil War was not fought to abolish the scourge of slavery but to preserve the union.

      America may never be able to make just reparations for crimes against humanity on this scale but it is a discussion we desperately need to have. At the very least, if we taught our children the truth, we would no longer have to hear arguments by Supreme Court justices that the real problem now is reverse discrimination. We would no longer have to endure the prevailing opinion that affirmative action is no longer necessary.”


      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Truth. It’s amazing to see in comment sections where readers are more open-minded how readily they admit to how their education completely diverted from discussing the issue of the Native American treatment in America.

  11. FingerBinger says:

    “We are a bunch of racists” Who is we?

  12. SamiHami says:

    Idiotic comment from an actor who seems to think he speaks for everyone in the country. What a pity. Good actor, dumb comment.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Why is it idiotic? Just because you disagree with him? He’s free to characterize the country he lives in just the same as anyone else. He’s not saying he speaks for everyone, and he’s certainly not criticizing every single American, but he’s saying the nation as a whole has a race problem, and it’s impossible to contest that given historical fact. And by the way, that history now includes the large-scale incarceration of African-American men in the 21st century along with police persecution and murder of African Americans as well, which could be likened to modern lynchings. It just changes form, but it goes on and on.

      • Decorative Item says:

        “But just generally speaking we’re racists. We are a bunch of racists.”

        Had he said the Country’s system is racist you would be correct but he didn’t.

      • SamiHami says:

        He obviously IS saying he speaks for everyone by saying “generally speaking we’re racists.” All I can say is he needs to speak for himself and no one else. So yes, it is an idiotic comment and yes I do disagree with it. You are dancing around, twisting and reinterpreting what he said. If he wants to call himself a racist, or someone he personally knows a racist, that’s one thing. He does not get to speak for the rest of the population.

  13. sauvage says:

    “there is just so much fodder there that he could just skewer society. And that’s what I want him to do. I want him to take everybody to task over this.”


  14. Trashaddict says:

    It’s excruciating how many people are opening their mouths and inserting their feet, over this issue. Sorta proves the point. There isn’t much left to say because Michael Caine and others are not offering any evidence to the contrary that racism is still with us.