The TV Column in the Sept. 10 Style section reported that profanity and a racial slur "got bleeped" during a live televised performance by Kanye West at a benefit concert for the Gulf Coast. In a news conference before the broadcast, producer Joel Gallen said a several-second delay would be used to bleep obscenities from the production. When the telethon was broadcast, there were several gaps in West's performance of his song "Jesus Walks" that corresponded to portions of the lyrics that contained obscenities and a racial slur. The Post has been unable to substantiate whether the obscenities and racial slur were removed during the broadcast or whether West removed them himself by pausing, creating the gaps, during those portions of the song. The producer says that he did not bleep words in the song and that West removed the words himself; calls to West's representatives have not been returned.
Celebs Join Hands, Hold Tongues for Telethon
"George Bush hates midgets!" Chris Rock quipped last night during "Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast."
The rest of the political commentary was more subtle during the one-hour celeb-studded appeal for hurricane relief, telecast across all of the broadcast networks and a slew of cable nets.
Rock's crack was a reference to Kanye West's comment that "George Bush doesn't care about black people," made when the rapper went seriously off-script during the "NBC: We Are the World" Hurricane Katrina telethon that Some of the Networks of NBC aired a week ago.
"We've all heard the question: 'Why didn't those people just leave when they had the chance?' " Rock said last night, ever so much more coherently, cynically and, apparently, on script.
"But now, we all realize, not everyone can jump in their SUVs and go check into a nice hotel.
"Those people depend on public transportation and those people can't afford a nice hotel because some of them work there."
He continued: "Well, now's the time for you to do something for them. Do it for the children who've been left behind without parents. For the sick that have been left without medicine. And for the families that have been left without a place in the world to call home. . . . Do what you can because it's the right thing to do."
A day earlier, in a phone call with the Reporters Who Cover Television, telethon producer Joe Gallen promised that the dozens of celebs participating would not be bleeped during the live prime-time telecast if they made political comments. But then, he said, he didn't expect them to make any.
"I think people know that politicizing will certainly not be a smart thing to do as far as inspiring people who want to call in and rally around this cause, which all of us in America are doing, not just the entertainment industry," Gallen said.
"If anybody has those kinds of feelings or are tempted to do it, I believe that's where they are going to channel their feelings, to inspire people to donate and leave the politicizing at home."
The brief, 30-second delay in the telecast would be used only to bleep obscenities, Gallen assured the reporters.
"I have spoken to everyone on the bill, including Kanye. . . . Everyone knows the best way to help is to sing their song, which is reflecting their feelings, or inspiring people to call."