Some Free Advice for Michael Richards

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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KRAMER VS. KRAMER Richards Say you starred as the wacky neighbor on one of the most beloved sitcoms ever. The show ends, you're doing some stand-up to pass the time, and, one night, you end up saying the n-word on stage. Shouting it, actually. Repeatedly. At a person of African-American descent. And telling that person he ought to be lynched.

In other words, say you're Michael Richards. What do you do now?

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1. Grovel. "The first thing he needs to do is apologize early and often," says Michael W. Robinson, vice president of Levick Strategic Communications, a Washington, D.C., PR firm that specializes in crisis management. Richards made a passable start last night, appearing via satellite on The Late Show with David Letterman to say he's "busted up" about the outburst. "I'm deeply, deeply sorry," he added.

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While Richards' form left something to be desired—he twice used the outdated term "Afro-American," drawing titters from the audience—his quick response impressed Robinson, who cites a Mark Twain maxim: "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."



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