A Brief History Of Steve Harvey Being Truly Awful

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on May 11, 2017 8:59PM

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We're watching you, Steve Harvey / Photo: Drew Angerer

There's diva unapproachability, and then there's Steve Harvey.

By now, you're likely familiar with the the email heard 'round the entertainment landscape—in which the ever-insufferable comic-turned-rent-a-host raised the bar for ivory-tower, delicate-genius jerk behavior everywhere. But the stuff-of-lore email—in which Harvey warned his mostly soon-to-be-unemployed staff, "Do not open my dressing room door. IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE REMOVED," among other numerous nuggets of civility—is the just the tip of an iceberg of awful. As he finally takes his show west (he's you're problem now L.A.), we offer up some of Harvey's many greatest misses as happy farewell:

The Email

The most recent offense. Ever the pro, veteran Chicago media columnist Robert Feder scored the scoop on Wednesday afternoon. "To say that [Harvey] has been remote and unapproachable would be an understatement," Feder wrote on the eve of the host's last Chicago taping of The Steve Harvey Show. And, boy, what an Exhibit A he presented. It's as if he recalled United CEO Oscar Munoz's "disruptive and belligerent" line—the most recent time a Chicago figure delivered such a tone-deaf internal communication—and just had to say "hold my beer." The rule "Do not approach me while I’m in the makeup chair unless I ask to speak with you directly," stands out as a particularly vintage brand of irritating. The opus in full:

The Miss Universe debacle

When brutal awards-ceremony flubs were still but a dream in Price Waterhouse Cooper's eye, Harvey drew the prototype. Unlike Warren Beatty, he had only himself to blame, as read the name of the first runner-up—but as the winner. Roughly 400 "you had one job" memes later, he misspelled both "Colombia" and "Philippines," from which the contestants hailed, in an apology went over just as well.

Racist gags about Asian men

Harvey sparked some deserved backlash from this January segment. Ostensibly a roast of a book with the cringe-worthy title How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men, his lazy follow-up gag simply doubled up the cringe: “That’s one page, too! 'Excuse me, do you like Asian men?' 'No.' 'Thank you.'”

Eddie Huang pulled no punches in a rebuttal, in the New York Times:

"He speaks openly about issues facing the black community, he is a man of God, and he has a huge platform to speak from. Unfortunately, he’s also the type of guy who orders Krug champagne for himself and Cook’s for every one else. For his own personal profit, he’s willing to perpetuate the emasculation of Asian men regardless of how hypocritical it is. He isn’t the only one doing this in 2017, but as I told myself on New Year’s, I’m not drinking anymore of this Cook’s they’re trying to pour, and neither should you."

Becoming Donald Trump's 'Inner City' Czar

Back in January, soon-to-be-President Donald Trump summoned Harvey to see how he might help tackle the problems of "inner cities" like Detroit and Chicago. Now, meeting with Trump is not bad, in and of itself—even if you're not going for a bricolage-esque, destroy-the-master-with-his-own-tools approach. That was indeed a weird time, with Kanye ducking in, too. But his vaguely Fallon-esque embrace rankled many—particularly his stakes-missing crack about having Trump face off against the Obamas or Clintons on Family Feud.


A general flair of misogynistic, homophobic B.S.

I've often found myself often stumbling across the "The Steve Harvey Morning Show" on V103, fan as I am of Chicago's home for R&B and grown-folks jams—which also happens to broadcast Harvey's AM daily. Even when he doesn't hop over the line into a blunder, there's still a baseline gender essentialism and moralistic paternalism hovering throughout. But when his regressive streak does blossom full bore, woo boy.

In addition to his notoriously "rapey" "what men really think" taping in 2015, the Daily Dot considered:

"Harvey also once said on television that gay men cannot be “real men.” In an interview with HipHollywood, he repeatedly calls Caitlyn Jenner a “he” and says “I can’t wrap my mind around it at all.” He has said he has no female friends because men who are friends with women are just waiting for the opportunity to have sex “because we’re guys.” Harvey has also challenged the notion that women can be honest sports fans telling one woman “you’re just trying to figure out why he picks sports over you.”

That would all fare somewhat differently if Harvey was still a comedian—such tired gender stereotypes are the subject of plenty of hack standup acts. But he actually considers himself a relationship expert, doling out advice to woman as if he has any pedigree or reason to be doing so. (Harvey is actually on his third marriage having been admittedly adulterous to his previous two.) Despite this, he has gone so far as to create his own dating site, Delightful.com, aimed at helping women “become more dateable."

The list goes on, but we're starting to get exhausted. Actually, a nap sound decent after all that. But remember, Steve, IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE REMOVED.