Native American activists pressure more venues to dump comedian

Update 12:48 p.m.May canceled postponed the rest of his shows in the region, Fargo Theater reported.


[Update 10:47 a.m.]The Star Tribune reports the Burnsville performance has been canceled. postponed


Ralphie May, the comic who was booted off the schedule at a venue in Bemidji, Minn., is finding new fame by being infamous.

May has been apologizing for several weeks for a 12-year-old video that surfaced on YouTube with racist overtones toward Native Americans. He says it was edited and taken out of context.

“I’m sick of hearing about how we’re supposed to boo hoo over **** Indians, and **** was 120 years ago. **** get over it … Nobody 150 years ago was making you drink now. Dry up you buncha alcoholics and go get a real ******* job,” he says in the clip.

May says it was taken out of context because it didn’t include the punch line, which was something about how he was still mad that “Dances With Wolves” beat out “Goodfellas” for best picture in 1991. It’s a punch line that doesn’t really soften the sting at all, actually.

May performs tonight in Fargo, N.D., tomorrow night in Sioux Falls, S.D., and in Burnsville in Thursday and now the controversy is following him to every venue.

Activists in Fargo said they don’t plan to urge the show be canceled, but they plan to protest it. And May tweeted that he’ll join them.

In Sioux Falls, some Native American leaders called on the city to cancel the comedian’s performance at a city-owned theater.

According to the Argus Leader newspaper, City Councilman Kenny Anderson Jr. said he watched one of May’s routines and didn’t think it was racist.

“It isn’t what they’re trying to portray it as,” Anderson told the paper.

KELO says city officials ducked all offers it extended them to talk about the comedian.

“City government shouldn’t get into the business of deciding which speech is deemed too racially offensive,” KELO commentator Greg Belfrage wrote yesterday. “However, its really troubling to me to see city officials hide under their beds and duck an issue.”

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune reports today that Native American activists in the Twin Cities are asking Burnsville’s Ames Center to dump May’s Wednesday night event.

But the city manager says it’s up to the company that runs the center on the city’s behalf.

In a statement issued Tuesday, American Indian Movement (AIM) co-founder Clyde Bellecourt called the clip “the most racist thing I’ve ever heard.”

Bill Means, co-founder of the International Indian Treaty Council, added, “We demand Ralphie May postpone or cancel the show or we will be outside demonstrating” outside Ames Center. AIM also wants May to meet with American Indian leaders.

“His routine is degrading, demeaning and disrespectful of Indian people,” said Means, who intends to say more at a news conference scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at the AIM Interpretive Center on E. Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis.

Wednesday’s performance is May’s last appearance in the upper Midwest before he heads to Illinois, Iowa and St. Louis.