Another apology to come

Times Staff Writers

In a session brokered by a lawyer and to be mediated by a retired judge, comedian Michael Richards plans to meet with the four African American men he targeted during a racist diatribe two weeks ago from the stage of Hollywood's Laugh Factory.

Richards, best known for his portrayal of Cosmo Kramer, the "hipster doofus" character on "Seinfeld," is expected to offer a direct apology for the outburst and also likely will pay a cash settlement, his spokesman said.

Three of the four men -- Kyle Doss, Frank McBride and Patrick McLucas -- and their lawyer, Gloria Allred, met with reporters in Los Angeles late Friday morning to announce the meeting, which Allred said would probably happen after the first of the year.

The judge, yet to be selected, is expected to suggest after mediating the meeting what further steps Richards should take to make amends.

Doss read a statement in which he said he was "very hurt by what happened at the Laugh Factory." He said he welcomed the chance for the four men to tell Richards "how his words made us feel" and said they would accept whatever recommendation the judge makes.

"We look forward to sitting down face to face with Mr. Richards, and we thank him for this positive step," Doss said.

In a separate interview, Richards' spokesman, Chris Giglio, said the comedian, hoping to arrange just such a meeting, had been in touch with Allred.

"He's really happy that he has a chance to do this," Giglio said.

Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada, though, was upset about the possibility that the four men, whom he described as "opportunists," could make money from the incident.

Masada argued that scores of people in the audience were offended and each should receive a personal apology.

Masada said he has offered to bring the audience from the Nov. 17 show back to the club to meet with Richards and allow the comedian to apologize and explain his actions.

"People making money out of that -- I think that's disgusting," Masada said in a telephone interview from New York, where he also has a comedy club.

"Michael Richards should not give in to Gloria Allred or any of that at all. My recommendation is that he should, from his conscience, [give] some money to some underprivileged kids so that they have money to go to school."

Richards has already issued several public apologies in venues ranging from "Late Show With David Letterman" to the Rev. Jesse Jackson's syndicated "Keep Hope Alive" radio program.

Richards described the outburst as an enraged reaction to heckling from members of the audience, a showdown that was caught on a patron's cellphone video camera and posted on the website.

Masada has since banned Richards from performing at the Laugh Factory. Earlier this week, Masada announced that he would fine performers who used the "N-word," which was repeated several times in Richards' diatribe, and bar any repeat offenders.

Masada also has asked comedians to drop other potentially hateful epithets from their repertoires.

"Comedy should bring everybody together," Masada said. "From the bottom of my heart, that's what I'm hoping for."


Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World