By Albert Lin
Actor Samuel L. Jackson on Monday laid into a TV reporter who seemingly confused him with fellow Black actor Laurence Fishburne during a live interview.
Jackson, in Atlanta, was on the air via satellite with KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin to discuss his role in the upcoming RoboCop remake. After an initial exchange of pleasantries with Jacksonwho has a reputation for not suffering fools and who already seemed a little put off by Rubin’s questionsRubin brought up Jackson’s “Super Bowl commercial.”
Jackson seemed confused, asking, “What Super Bowl commercial”
Rubin is then seen looking off camera, embarrassment creeping across his face, as presumably someone in the studio tells him he just made a grave error. “Oh, you know what” he said. “My mistake.”
That’s when Jackson let Rubin have it.
“You’re as crazy as the people on Twitter,” Jackson said. “I’m not Laurence Fishburne! [Fishburne starred in a Super Bowl ad for a car manufacturer.] We don’t all look alike! We may be all Black and famous, but we all don’t look alike. You’re busted!”
Off camera, one of Rubin’s colleagues could be heard telling him, “You are guilty!” and then jokingly telling Jackson, “He thought you were Bob Dylan!” (Dylan also starred in a Super Bowl ad for a car manufacturer.)
Jackson was just getting warmed up. “You’re the entertainment reporter for this station” he said with a smirk. “And you don’t know the difference between me and Laurence Fishburne That must be a very short line for your job outside there.”
Rubin tried to move the interview forward, saying, “Let’s talk about RoboCop.” Jackson replied, “Oh, hell, no. Really, really I’m the other guy, the other one’What’s in your wallet’ [That’s a reference to his ads for Capital One.] I’m that guy. There’s more than one Black guy doing a commercial. I’m the ‘What’s in your wallet’ Black guy; he’s the car Black guy. Morgan Freeman is the other credit card Black guyyou only hear his voice, though, so you probably won’t confuse him with Laurence Fishburne.”
Every time Rubin tried to apologize and move on, Jackson cut him off. “There’s a heavier weight Black guy that’s like putting cash down in the seats at a baseball stadium, but he’s also the Black guy that turns off the house, the water and the lights when his kid tells him the house is coolI’m not that guy either.”
Then Jackson unleashed his pice de rsistance, bringing up some common racial stereotypes: “And I’ve actually never done a McDonald’s or a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercialI know that’s surprising.
“And I’m the only Black guy in RoboCop that’s not a criminal, other than Michael K. Williams.”
With that, Jackson was done, finally taking Rubin’s questions about RoboCop.
About a half-hour after the interview, Rubin apologized on the air, saying that Jackson gave him “the shellacking that was well deserved.”
Here’s his apology in full:
“We start right now with the beauty and the occasional pain of live television. First and foremost, I do know who Samuel L. Jackson is. I’ve interviewed him several times over the years, but never quite like the conversation we just had.
“I indicated to Samuel that I’d seen him during the Super Bowl, and he thought that I had confused him with the commercial Laurence Fishburne had done for a car company. Of course a Captain America ad had also run during the Super Bowl, but I immediately felt so dumb, I didn’t bring that upand he gave me the shellacking that was well deserved.
“I pride myself on the fact that, unlike a lot of people who do this kind of work, more often than not, I really do know what I’m talking about. But I didn’t 30 minutes ago, and I’m really embarrassed about it, and I very much apologize to Samuel L. Jackson and anyone else who was offended for what was a very amateur mistake.”
Below is video of Rubin’s apology.