I’ve written more than once about my love of the TV series character J.R. Ewing, and the actor who played him, Larry Hagman (R.I.P.). Well, when Dallas first went off the air 1991 I started watching daytime soaps, including The Young & The Restless. And lead character Victor Newman, who has been played by Eric Braeden since 1980 (with a few breaks, due to contract disputes with CBS) quickly became my favorite character on that show. In many ways, he was my stand-in for J.R. Ewing. The men had their similarities, both ruthless rich men who weren’t above lying, cheating, and stealing to accomplish their goals.
But they also have their good points.
I’ve often speculated about how a story pitting the two characters against each other would pan out. As Lisa Seidman, a woman who has written for both Dallas and Y&R once said: Ha! Good question. Neither of them would ever have a total win. J.R. might defeat Victor in some aspect of business but then Victor would pick himself up, dust himself off and go after J.R. with a vengeance. Neither would be down for long. The battle would go on forever!
Anyway, I saw this story online: ‘The Young & The Restless’ Star Eric Braeden Deletes Offensive Tweet, Says His Account Was Hacked
The gist of this is that this picture was retweeted on Eric Braeden’s Twitter account.
I guess some folks took issue with the picture. Breaden deleted it and says his twitter was “hacked.” Okay, fine, whatever. I don’t know if that part is true, of he did retweet the picture, thinking it was funny, but then deleted it when folks were offended. But, frankly, if he did retweet it, what’s the problem?
Yes, I get it, it has the N-word in it, but it’s clearly being used in a specific sense. The meme, which you can see has “TBT” for “ThrowbackThursday” on it, is addressing the reality of a lot of a Black folks of a certain age that we grew up with women, be it our mothers or grandmothers, who watched soap operas regularly. A 2009 viewer study report showed the bare truth: SHOCKING NEWS: Soap Operas’ Largest Audience is Poor, Middle-Aged, African-American Women!
So those soaps were always on in the house, and even if you didn’t watch whole episodes, you saw enough to become familiar with the characters. The meme is addressed directly to Black people, from other Black people, hence the use of that word to describe a man who isn’t even Black. It’s a joke, it’s nothing. Braeden re-tweeting it is no more “racist” than if he posted a link to a rap song that used the word. Don’t be mad at him for liking a song, he didn’t write. Likewise, if he did retweet the picture, I’m sure he just took it as a complement, but he didn’t create it.
I’m reminded of how a few years ago Khloa Kardashian got flack for retweeting this:
Now, you know I can’t stand the Kardashians, so I’m the last person who’d ever want to defend any of them for anything. But this was also much ado about nothing. I think far too often many people just get online looking for something to be offended by.
Now feel free to check out this interview, that my brother James Lott Junior conducted with Eric Braeden last year (at 9:27 I get a shout-out!):
[…] is the second time he’s had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Braeden. I’ve linked to that first interview before, and if you’ve watched it you’ll see that at the end that Mr. Braeden says it […]
I hadn’t heard about this controversy involving Eric Braeden until now. I think the “If you know this” meme is funny. It doesn’t strike me as mean-spirited at all. Like you said, if he retweeted it, what’s the problem?
This brings to mind the controversy involving Jenna Bush and Michael Keaton each conflating the film titles “Hidden Figures” and “Fences” as “Hidden Fences” at the Golden Globes this year. In both cases, it seemed like an honest mistake. I thought it was silly that Bush and Keaton both felt compelled to apologize.
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[…] even worse than the minor flap over Eric Braeden’s tweet last month. At least that did have a racial slur in it (even if it was taken out of context,as I […]