Pose star Sandra Bernhard is once again being haunted by a racist joke she told over 20 years ago.
An old clip from Bernhard’s 1998 comedy special I’m Still Here… Damn It resurfaced on Twitter this week. In it, she insults Mariah Carey, referring to the singer as “n**gerish” and suggesting she’s not fully Black because she’s technically biracial.
“And now (she’s) trying to backtrack on our a**es, acting real ni**erish up there at the Royalton Hotel suite with Puff Daddy and all the greasy, chain-wearing Black men,” Bernhard says in the clip.
She then goes on to mimic Carey by speaking in higher-pitched voice, saying, “Oh yeah, Daddy. This feels kinda good. I didn’t know I would be into this.”
The punchline ends with Bernhard joking, “I’ve got a little bit of Black in me, too. I didn’t tell you that.”
Just a reminder that Nurse Judy from Pose called Mariah Carey a “n****er” and made fun of other black artist. pic.twitter.com/YDPK4ET0Dg
— Tre – Justice for Black Lives (@RadioLamb) August 7, 2020
Even at the time, the joke didn’t land well. Eventually, Carey contacted the NAACP and had the comedy special yanked from the air.
In a 1998 interview with New York Magazine, Bernhard defended herself by saying, “I have carte blanche to use that word from my friend Paul Mooney. I’m a card-carrying white-black girl. Plus, I have a huge Black following, so you know, it’s like a black person saying [n**gerish].”
In 2006, she again defended herself in an interview with Seattle Weekly, saying, “I think anybody Black who comes to my shows gives me carte blanche to say that because I’m really coming from their place. I’m not some cracker up there…It’s so obvious that I’m a part of that culture.”
Last year, Bernhard told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live that she and Carey have since buried the hatchet and are now on good terms.
Despite Bernhard claiming the two have made up, many on Twitter who are seeing the clip for the first time are still outraged.
I’ve always read about this, but never knew an actual clip existed. This is definitely from the 90s. Sandra Bernhard has always been trash!
— Sir Parkwood (@Rocksteady00) August 8, 2020
@SandraBernhard was never funny to begin with; thought she get laughs by using the “N” word. White trash.
— TheTruth247 (@TruthYes247) August 13, 2020
She pretty much said Mariah was cooning to her own ppl? I am just bewildered
— Valerie Complex♓️♎️♋️ (@ValerieComplex) August 8, 2020
Sandra Bernhard has been trash for a long time. A stint on Pose didn’t make me forget. I’m glad this is circulating again. It’s easy to be anti-Black even while being part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Sadly, we see it all the time.
— Harper Miller (@authorharpmill) August 8, 2020
This aged horribly. But honestly mixed race people have always been the butt of jokes and abuse. It’s fucked up. I’m glad people are recognizing now.
— Epiphany Stone (@epiphanystone) August 8, 2020
She clearly just had a VERY clear problem with Mariah and used the guise of “comedy” to spew her racist hate.
— miss vanjie (@taahira_k) August 8, 2020
I wonder if she will use the same “I have a pass” excuse as she did back in the day. That shit won’t work this time!!!
— Aries Child (@AriesChild5) August 12, 2020
Even Bernhard’s Pose co-star Indya Moore weighed in, tweeting: “Very hurtful, confusing, And disappointing.”
Very hurtful, confusing, And disappointing.
— #BreonnaTaylor (@IndyaMoore) August 7, 2020
Bernhard has yet to issue any comment on the clip resurfacing or the renewed backlash it has been receiving.