Steve Harvey says lead water jokes were directed at caller, not the city of Flint

Steve Harvey is in Atlanta this weekend for his annual mentorship program to help at-risk male teens. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

This was posted on Friday, June 16, 2017 by Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

In an interview today with me, Steve Harvey said his joke to a Flint radio listener regarding their water was part of light-hearted “trash talk” between him and the caller, not anything to take seriously.

Harvey, who used to live in Cleveland, was lamenting on the radio earlier this week about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss in the NBA finals to the Golden State Warriors when a caller started talking smack.

“You from Flint?” Harvey asked, according to listener accounts of the interaction, in a USA Today story. “That’s why y’all ain’t even got clean water. When was the last time you touched water and it didn’t have lead in it?”

Before the caller hung up, in an audio portion that was taped, Harvey said “one more thing. … Enjoy your nice brown glass of water.”

“The uproar came. This is sort of crazy. It was out of context,” Harvey said to me today at the Rock Ranch in The Rock, GA where Harvey is holding his four-day mentorship program for 231 teen-age boys. “I was just talking to this one guy.”

He also noted that he had set aside an hour of his radio show back when the Flint lead water crisis was at its apex. He said he even pressed then candidate Hillary Clinton on the subject. “I had city officials and city members for a whole hour.”

Harvey mused, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to tell jokes. I can’t say nothin’ about nobody!”

I will post an item about his mentorship program and other subjects addressed in the interview below later.

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