Rolling Out

D.L. Hughley, Steve Harvey and selling misogyny as ‘wisdom’


In recent weeks, fans of ABCs hit show “Scandal” have been rocked by the news that one of the show’s principal stars, actor Columbus Short, has been accused of domestic abuse by his estranged wife, Tanee McCall Short. Mrs. Short says that the star physically assaulted her in front of their child, put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her and himself. It was announced a few days ago that Short has been fired from “Scandal” due to the allegations.

On his radio show, comedian, erstwhile political commentator D.L. Hughley weighed in on the topic and proceeded to blast Tanee McCall Short for her role in this unfortunate situation. Referring to Mrs. Short as a “thirsty b—-” and ” thirsty h–,” Hughley stated that, “I think that broad shouldn’t be telling all his business if she gone take him to court.”

Because, obviously, that’s what’s most important here.

Hughley’s female co-host Jasmine Sanders attempted to counter Hughley’s blatantly sexist commentary, but he chided her and opted instead to speak with his male co-host Steve Wilson, because, as Hughley put it, Wilson “has nuts.”

“I don’t think you believe half the shit you saying right now, Jasmine,” Hughley said dismissively, as Wilson chuckled in agreement. “This b—- was thirsty,” Hughley added. “The b—- was thirsty. What, she gone go back to dancing? She gone f— her money up?”

“When you’re very young, you’re very volatile,” Hughley also said. “I’ve been in situations where the police were called. I don’t believe that every time someone says something in the heat of anger, they actually mean it. Everybody want a thug dude, a passionate dude, until you gotta live with your mother in an undisclosed location. You know what kind of dude you picked. Stop it.”

“I don’t think that’s always the case,” Sanders countered.

“Well, you’re dumb,” was Hughley’s response.

Hughley’s statements and attitude are deplorable and there should be consequences. Those who consider themselves to be against misogyny and woman-bashing should distance themselves from this clown, post-haste. But what’s truly sad is that is that the same sad scene plays out in the dialogue between black men about black women every day. Columbus Short could be an emotionally unstable abuser; but that takes a backseat to the fact that this evil black woman–who is attempting to “trap” him. His actions lead to assaults on her character. How typical.

Also last week, D.L. Hughley’s fellow “King of Comedy” Steve Harvey decided to weigh in on “Love & Hip-Hop” cast members Mimi Faust and Nikko Smith and their now-notorious sex tape. The explicit footage was released to the Web and became a sensation, and Harvey was so aghast that he had to discuss this tragedy.

“You can’t have a child and make decisions based on just you and every mother understands that …When you’re making these decisions out here, that you’re going to make a sex tape, stop thinking about right now, whatever little momentary five minutes of fame and little piece of little change it’s going to put in your pocket,” Steve said on his radio show. “Whatever money they put in your pocket is not going to be worth the hell that comes with it.

“You’re putting your most precious gift out on display,” Harvey added. “For a pearl, you gotta dive to the bottom of the ocean…ain’t no diamonds laying on top of the earth; they don’t grow like corn. This thing every man got to have: your body. Your precious jewel. You’re sitting on a gold mine. Please act like it, young ladies. Act like you’re sitting on a gold mine, because it is what every man is after. And we will pay dearly for it.”

Maybe I’m wrong, but I am pretty sure there were two people gettin’ it in on that sex tape. And it’s called Mimi & Nikko: Scandal In Atlanta, so why is Mimi being singled out for scorn and derision? “You’re a father” seems to rarely be the go-to response when a man in the public eye does something society finds questionable, and public display of sexuality seems to rarely result in male criticism of other men; or even female criticism of the man in question. Her “gift” is her sexuality, and a woman’s sexuality must be repressed and hidden under the guise of it being “precious,” while a man’s sexuality is celebrated and endorsed–it affirms his “manhood.” Same double-standard game we’ve been playing for centuries. Maybe it’s time to acknowledge that this game is rigged.

What people like Steve Harvey and D.L. Hughley continue to perpetuate is the idea — the patriarchal idea — that a woman behaving in a way that is deemed “non-virtuous” is worse than anything a man could be guilty of himself. So when Columbus Short attacks his wife, there is an immediate need to cast blame on the wife. When two grown people make a sex tape together, there is an immediate need to chastise the woman for her role in that tape.

Another headline-grabbing recent scandal involved a high-profile man and a woman. L.A. Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling is now staring at a lifetime ban from the NBA after a recorded conversation between he and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, was leaked to the media. In the conversation, Sterling makes disturbingly racist comments about NBA legend and businessman Magic Johnson. In the wake of the controversy, there has been an unsettling amount of black men who seem to be angrier at Stiviano for “tricking” the racist Sterling than there is for Sterling’s racism.

Why is that? Why is the woman’s behavior and character always on trial–even when it’s the man who committed the offense? Why is it the woman’s fault that her husband is unstable? Every abused woman “saw it coming?” Isn’t that just another way of saying she “had it coming?”

Shortly after Chris Brown was arrested for assaulting Rihanna in 2009, comedian Mike Epps stood in front of an audience at one of his shows and shouted “We don’t know what she did to that boy!” The audience cheered — despite the fact that we all knew what he’d done to her.

Do we hate our women?

And maybe it’s high time we press “mute” on the misogynistic, patriarchal musings of these former Kings of Comedy and demand that our black men in the public sphere respect black women enough to not be condescending and insulting in their dealings with black women. If Don Imus had to face public scorn and condemnation, so should D.L. Hughley. Misogyny doesn’t need more platforms–and both of these funnymen are wallowing in it. One under the guise of offering “guidance” to grown women who don’t need and never asked for it; the other in an attempt to shift blame from a fellow black man’s troubling behavior. Both should be ashamed.

Don’t you miss Bernie Mac?

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