Jeff Lewis has been known to put his foot in his mouth from time to time, and the former “Flipping Out” star is apologizing from some remarks he made on his SiriusXM show on Andy Cohen’s Radio Andy channel that have been accused of being racist.
As People reports, Lewis was discussing the coronavirus — which first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan — on Tuesday’s edition of his show, “Jeff Lewis Live”, along with his guests interior designer Megan Weaver, actors Doug Budin and Monika Casey, “SNL” alum Cheri Oteri and real estate agent Carrie Lewis (who is also Lewis’ niece).
“There used to be three Asian-American people working here, but Megan has locked them in the greenroom because she’s so concerned. She is so concerned, she has quarantined them,” Lewis joked. “She has no idea and doesn’t care, she is so afraid of the coronavirus.”
Weaver jokingly agreed she was “terrified” and insisted she’d be avoiding Panda Express “until this is all over.”
Budin joked about Weaver. “Megan was nervous like, ‘What if an Asian person calls into the show? We shouldn’t even take the call.'”
“It’s too dangerous,” quipped Lewis, joking that he had cancelled events in Wuhan due to fears over the virus.
“You can’t be too careful,” agreed Weaver, joking that she was nervous about exposure after having a Chinese foot massage a few days earlier.
On Wednesday’s show, Lewis escalated his remarks when he suggested “that we quarantine all Asian SiriusXM employes. This would include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Filipino, Indonesian, etc.,” Lewis said. “I’m sure there’s more. That’s all we could think of. We’ll see how that goes.”
Joked Lewis: “It’s racist Wednesday, here at ‘Jeff Lewis Live’.”
He also advised anyone in Los Angeles to stay away from the city’s Chinatown and avoid the famed TCL Chinese Theatre.
On Thursday’s show, Lewis kicked things off by apologizing. “We love our Asian listeners and we would never want them to feel excluded. We also never meant to spread hate or breed racism with our comments,” Lewis said.
“Apparently, I did incense a few people. I actually feel bad about it. I was joking around and it went a little too far,” he added. “I apologize for being such an a**hole. I want people to have fun when they listen to this show… So I just wanted to apologize. I’m very sorry for crossing the line.”
Lewis also insisted that apologizing was his idea, and he wasn’t ordered to do it. “No one has told me to apologize yet. This was on my own,” he said. “I felt like I went a little too far.”
Added Lewis: “I personally, truly, was kidding — was joking. Being sarcastic. I love all my listeners and I truly do not care about their ethnicity. I don’t care about their religious background. I don’t care about income level. I don’t care about their height. I don’t care if they’re three feet tall. I don’t care if they don’t have arms. I don’t care if they’re transitioning. I don’t care if they have special needs. I don’t care. I really don’t care. I just want to connect with people.”