*Steve Harvey said his joke to a caller from Flint about the city’s contaminated water was simply trash talk, but the city’s mayor and 8-year-old “Little Miss Flint” are not trying to hear that.
As previously reported, Harvey told a Flint caller on Wednesday, “enjoy your nice brown glass of water.” He said he was talking talking trash to the caller about the Cavaliers losing in the NBA Finals. After the caller said Harvey’s hometown of Cleveland “didn’t deserve jack” after its Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors, he responded with asking when was the last time the caller touched water that didn’t have lead in it. He also joked about the man bathing in silver water.
Before he hung up, Harvey said “one more thing, enjoy your nice brown glass of water.”
Eight-year-old Amariyanna Copeny, a.k.a. “Little Miss Flint,” posted a tweet with a video. “Flint is not a joke Steve Harvey. Please apologize. #FlintWaterCrisis #Flint #FlintLivesMatter #PeopleDied,” she wrote.
“This message is for Mr. Harvey,” she said in a Twitter video. “You need to stop making jokes about Flint, people died from Legionnaires here. I challenge you to come to Flint and see how (people) really live here.”
At one point in the video she points at some bottled water, calling it their only clean water source.
“You can’t just make me leave, pack up my bags and leave Flint,” she said. “Flint is my home. You can stop making jokes about this place. You owe us an apology. My whole community an apology. You need to say sorry and we might forgive you.”
— Little Miss Flint (@LittleMissFlint) June 14, 2017
Copeny rose to prominence after a letter to then-President Barack Obama helped inspire a visit to Flint last year.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver also went off, responding to Harvey’s joke with the following open letter:
“As Mayor of the City of Flint, and someone who has been on your show and spoken with you personally about the Flint Water Crisis, I was deeply saddened by your comments about our city. While I feel it was not meant to be an intentional hurt or insult against the citizens of this community, it was.
We are still going through many hardships and challenges caused by the poisoning of our city. To make a joke out of a tragedy such as this was in very poor taste, especially coming from someone of your stature.
While we are making progress in replacing lead tainted service lines, we still have to use filters and remain on bottled water. As Mayor, I would appreciate, on behalf of the citizens of this community, a public apology. I would love to sit and discuss with you the status of where we are today. ”
Harvey explained his Flint comment to NBC-25/FOX-66 in mid-Michigan.
“This morning callers and I were cracking jokes about the Cleveland Cavaliers loss to the Golden State Warriors. I’m a huge Cavs fan.
“The caller and I were talking trash about our teams and cities. “SIMPLY TRASH TALKING ABOUT SPORTS”.
“I made a joke directed at him, as he is from Flint, a city for which I have great affection and respect.
“So much so that I devoted a full hour on my daytime talk show to raising awareness for the Flint water crisis.
“I also pressed then candidate, Hilary Clinton, to offer solutions to what I called one of the great catastrophes of modern times.
“The and the caller laughed as my joke was taken in the context it was offered.
“Any attempts to craft this into anything more serves no one.”