Although Steve Harvey has long been a source of consternation for a viewpoint that combines casual misogyny with a not-so-subtle amount of shaming towards other black people, he has largely evaded the public repudiations that other celebrities have recieved for problematic remarks. But a new bit from one of last week’s episodes of his NBC talk show "Steve Harvey" may start to change the tide.
Harvey hosted a themed show (taped on Sunday) called "What Men Really Think," in which one hundred women were seated on stage in front of an audience of over 2,000 men to get the "male view" on various personal issues they were having.
Got 2,000 men in 1 building. Season 4 of my show is going to be bigger than ever! #SteveHarvey #SeasonOfSurprises pic.twitter.com/qVZvBMHAvv
— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) August 16, 2015
The show, expectedly, went off the rails quickly. A woman was booed for not having sex with her husband, while various others were admonished or catcalled by the crowd on the basis of their looks. The situation got bad enough that the show’s warm-up comedian stepped in to intervene, calling the situation "too rapey." Harvey, for his part, did respond to some vitriolic and sexist remarks by saying that it should be a woman’s decision whether or not to have sex, but that hasn’t done enough to stem the criticism.
In an opinion piece at The Daily Dot, writer Ben Branstetter addresses Harvey’s history of misogynistic art, made especially problematic given that he now brands himself as a relationship expert:
Somehow, Harvey has built a career of saying very derogatory statements. Yet enjoys hosting spots on two daytime talk shows, a top-rated game show in Family Feud, a blockbuster best-selling book (Act Like A Lady and Think Like A Man) turned into two movies (Think Like A Man and Think Like A Man Too), and a cottage industry as a dating expert. All the while, Harvey avoids the complete and utter ire of the kind of online campaigns faced by many other public figures.
That’s not where his antics end, however. 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.”
(H/t The Daily Dot, The Root, Gawker)