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Artie Lange has come under fire for a series of tweets that detailed a racist sexual fantasy involving ESPN personality Cari Champion, and the comedian, actor and radio personality has taken to Twitter again to explain himself and to issue an apology—but only to her, not what he called the "PC army."
She has not commented about his remarks, while ESPN called them "reprehensible" and "hateful" and scores of Twitter users slammed the comic using the hashtag #iSupportCari. Meanwhile, a guest appearance Lange was scheduled to make on the Comedy Central show @Midnight was canceled following the backlash.
"If this hurt u in any way I'm sorry," Lange tweeted to Champion on Wednesday, saying his comments were "stupid jokes."
The 47-year-old is known for his crude and potty-mouthed humor and had often showcased it as a recurring guest of the X-rated radio show The Howard Stern Show before he left the program in late 2009. On Tuesday, just after 10 a.m. ET, Lange began to tweet about Champion while watching on her ESPN2 show, First Take, over the course of about half an hour.
"The chick on ESPNs First Take is so f--kin hot!" he tweeted, in what would mark his tamest tweet of the morning.
He then proceeded to joke that he was engaged in a solo sexual act, but that "they keep cutting back to Stephen A Smith and the white guy. Frustrating!" He continues detailing a sexual fantasy, in which he plays "T. Jefferson" and the "chick on First Take" portrays his "slave," who beats him up and "runs free."
"Hey @CariChampion," he says. "Lets me and you get busy!"
The tweets have been retweeted and favorited dozens of times by Twitter users, including Lange's some 269,000 followers, while scores of other readers have expressed shock and anger over them. Many users had also called on ESPN to react to his comments and the cable channel did, later in the day.
"His comments were reprehensible and no one should be subjected to such hateful language," ESPN said in a statement to E! News. "They objectify and demean one of our valued employees under the thin guise of 'comedy' and are offensive to all of us. We will not dignify them with any other comment."
On Wednesday, Lange responded to the backlash, sarcastically, and spurred more retweets.
"I'm about to tweet a few things I can't believe have to be explained in a rational world. I observed that was a gorgeous lady," he said. "This observation came while I was watching one of my favorite tv shows ESPNs First Take. I also noticed she was black. I then thought it would be funny to tweet JOKES about that observation. A decision which might be the end of modern comedy."
"I tweeted jokes that in the past I would've said in privately in my home among friends. I know black women who could join me and handle it," he continued. "I won't debate if the tweets were funny. That could take minutes of precious time left in my career. The issue is do they warrant an apology."
"Tricky question. I would rather load trucks for a living then ever apologize to one of these awful PC groups ruining the country," he said in a tweet that was reposted more than 250 times—at least four times as many as most of his past ones.
"So that's a NO," he said. "But if it upset the lady in question that's another story. Let me say to if this hurt u in any way I'm sorry. I'm a comedian. Sometimes I'm funny! For the record my mom's disgusted w the tweets. But if I based my humor on my mom I'd be broke."
He told Champion his comments were all jokes.
"Stupid jokes. Very stupid but jokes," he said. "Pls don't let them harm you. If they did I'm sorry."
"But I'm sure you'll be ok," he added. "You're gorgeous & talented. I hope that didn't offend u. To the PC army. Congrats! U won again! Gluten free cake!"
He also said he's not a racist and doesn't hate women.
"Now that we're all cool again," he continued. "Zoe Saldana is f--kin hot!
—Additional reporting by Athenia Veliz-Dunn and Lauren Mendoza