Australian comedian Josh Thomas has apologised for his past comments about race in television casting that resurfaced this week.
Video of the Please Like Me writer and actor went viral yesterday, showing a 2016 discussion in which he mused on racial diversity in casting and seemed to conclude that white actors are more experienced and preferable.
Thomas today apologised on Twitter for being a “really dumb, illogical, insensitive idiot”.
“I’m super ashamed of the comments I made, and would like to apologise,” he tweeted.
“The answers I offered in this clip are in no way constructive or correct.
“I am committed to doing better.”
The video clip shows an all-white panel about writers’ rooms, with Thomas sitting alongside Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon and fellow Australian comedians Celia Pacquola and Luke McGregor.
“The other thing I didn’t know about making a TV show that I found quite confronting is you have to pick every person,” Thomas said in the video.
“Josh, what do you want the 7-Eleven worker to look like?
“Do you make them Indian, or is that offensive?
“Or if you make them white, is it a bit like you’re lying, really?
“What answer is not offensive?”
McGregor remarked, “We’re probably not going to come to the answer with this panel.”
Pacquola noted that casting white actors takes jobs away from minorities.
Harmon began to discuss Hollywood efforts toward improving diversity in casting, before being interrupted by Thomas.
“Finding people who have been given the same opportunities to be great at acting is really hard,” Thomas said.
“None of the other shows are hiring people that aren’t white.
“Finding an experienced actor that’s not white is really hard.
“You find yourself in a situation where you want to be more diverse, but this person doesn’t have as much experience as this person, and then it’s hard to know what to do, because you don’t want to be favouring people when they’re not going to do a good job.”
Thomas has more recently vocally supported the Black Lives Matter movement.
The social media uproar follows the cancelling of four of fellow Australian Chris Lilley’s shows from Netflix over his use of blackface, and comedian Meshel Laurie’s Facebook comments that appeared to trivialise blackface and claim it was not a problem for Australia.