Comedian Sarah Silverman said she holds herself accountable for wearing blackface, talking about the incident on The Bill Simmons Podcast.
Silverman said she recently lost a small role in a movie the night before she went to film after someone saw a photo of her in blackface from a 2007 episode of her Comedy Central series, “The Sarah Silverman Program.”
The 48-year-old brought up the incident during a discussion on “cancel culture,” a social media phenomenon that takes outrage and transforms it into a large-scale rejection of a celebrity’s place in pop culture.
“You have to ask yourself, would I want this person to be changed or do I secretly want them to stay what I deem as wrong so I can point to to them as f—ed up and myself as right?” Silverman said of the trend.
Silverman said that the episode with her in blackface was supposed to explore race through an ignorant and arrogant character, but there was still so much she didn’t understand about race at the time. The episode, called “Face Wars,” has Silverman satirically claiming it’s easier to be a black American than to be Jewish.
“I’m not saying don’t hold me accountable, I held myself accountable,” she said. “I can’t erase that I did that, but I can only be changed forever and do what I can to make it right for the rest of my life.”
The comedian said she didn’t fight to keep the role she lost over the blackface episode, but that it upset her because “I’ve kind of devoted my life to making it right.”
In a GQ magazine profile last year, Silverman said she doesn’t stand by the blackface episode and is horrified over it. Silverman also said that making mistakes is part of the nature of working in comedy.
“Comedy by nature is not at all evergreen,” she told GQ. “So if you’re doing it right, you look back at your old stuff and you’re horrified.”
Doha Madani is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.