Topic: Society

Howard Rubenstein
(December 2006)

And now, yet another ethics miscreant arises from the fiasco that keeps on generating more nasty surprises, Michael Richards' racist rant in an LA comedy club.

Richards hired Hollywood P.R. crisis specialist Howard Rubinstein after the video of his tirade became public, and one of Rubenstein's early assignments was to defuse yet another potential embarrassment. It seems Richards went off on an anti-Jewish rant in another public appearance a while back, this one witnessed by, though (lucky for Richards) not caught on camera like his David Duke impression. No, Richards was not doing a Mel Gibson impression in the un-filmed incident, but that would have been a better excuse than the one he actually went with. Instead, Rubenstein had this answer for critics: Richards was making fun of anti-Semitic rednecks. "He's Jewish," Rubenstein said. "He's not anti-Semitic at all. He was role-playing, he was playing a part."

It worked! The anti-Jewish accusations abated. That Rubenstein is good! Except that journalists could find no evidence that Richards really was Jewish. His parents weren't Jewish and he wasn't raised Jewish. Nor had he converted to Judaism. How could he be Jewish?

Howard Rubenstein, Public Relations Wizard, back on the job: "Technically, not having been born by blood as Jewish and not formally going into a conversion, it was purely his interpretation of having adopted Judaism as his religion," Rubenstein told the Associated Press. "He told me, `I'm Jewish,' when I asked him. He said there were two mentors who raised him and who had a big influence on his life, and they were Jewish. He said, `I agree with the concepts and the religious beliefs of Judaism and I've adopted Judaism as my religion,' He really thinks of himself as Jewish."



Richards is Jewish because he thinks of himself as Jewish? Gee, why didn't Richards go for broke and have Rubenstein argue that Richards couldn't have been racist when he referred to African-Americans as "niggers" because he thinks of himself as black?

Rubenstein's excuse for Richards' alleged anti-Semitic remarks was not only a lie, it was a breathtakingly stupid one. Supporters of Rubenstein may claim that Richards was at fault if he indeed made such an absurd assertion, but Howard Rubenstein is the public relations pro, and he has a duty to make sure that he doesn't make things worse for his clients by relaying their most crack-brained statements to the press. When Rubenstein lends his credibility to an obviously dishonest claim, it becomes his lie.

And his lie was ridiculous, making him December's Liar of the Month.

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