American jazz musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. says he never would have agreed to participate in an Australian variety show if he had known performers would be appearing in a blackface parody of the Jackson Five.
"I just want to say, on behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously, but we've spent so much time trying to not make Black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that we take it really to heart," an obviously stunned Connick told the host of “Hey, Hey It’s Saturday, following a skit in which four men with afro wigs and blackface sang and danced behind a Michael Jackson impersonator wearing White makeup.
The 42-year-old Connick, who was serving as a guest judge on the popular show, gave the performance a zero score, The Associated Press reports. If that skit had been performed in the United States it would have been pulled off the air, he told show host Daryl Somers, adding that he would not have appeared if he had known there would be such a racially offensive act.
The leader of the "Jackson Jive" act, Anand Deva, said it was not intended to be offensive.
Somers apologized to Connick: "I know that to your countrymen, that's an insult to have a blackface routine like that on the show, so I do apologize to you."