New York Post columnist John Crudele published a perspective about the U.S. Census booking Dick Gregory for a Black History Month event. After certain workers took offense to Gregory’s routine, the U.S. Census apologized by stating, “We understand [Gregory’s] comments offended some members of the audience. Gregory’s statement and opinions were his own and do not reflect the Census Bureau’s commitment to an inclusive workplace environment free from discrimination and harassment. … We make every effort to ensure that our external speakers represent diverse viewpoints while also respecting the audience.” Okay, but the bigger U.S. Census joke—which turned out to be offensively ignorant—involved letting Draftfcb lead a multicultural campaign in 2007.
Census Bureau paid controversial Dick Gregory to address workers
By John Crudele
The Census Bureau paid comedian Dick Gregory between $15,000 and $20,000, plus expenses, to address workers at its headquarters in February — and now Census regrets it.
The performer and civil rights activist, who is known to use raw language and racial terms that many find objectionable, spoke during Black History Month. But apparently he offended enough of the workers that Census is revising its policy on outside speakers.
The Gregory situation, which I just found out about last week, is a good example of why there needs to be more oversight over how taxpayer money is spent.
First, let’s listen to Census grovel.
“We understand [Gregory’s] comments offended some members of the audience,” Census said in a statement to me that appears to have been sent to irate workers. “Gregory’s statement and opinions were his own and do not reflect the Census Bureau’s commitment to an inclusive workplace environment free from discrimination and harassment.”
Yeah, yeah, sure. Gregory’s spiel is well known. This wasn’t Jerry Seinfeld they were hiring.
“We make every effort to ensure that our external speakers represent diverse viewpoints while also respecting the audience,” it continued.
Sure, diverse viewpoints!
“We will seek to continue to meet this standard in the future and are thoroughly reviewing our procedures for selecting speakers to ensure their views are appropriate for a federal workplace,” the statement said.
How about this? Don’t have speakers! Don’t spend money unnecessarily! Let your workers go to a comedy club for their entertainment like the rest of us do.
Census didn’t get back to me when I asked how much Gregory was paid. But I learned the range of his fee from Celebrity Talent Promotions, which handles his bookings. Hopefully, Census got a discount.
There is no YouTube video of Gregory’s speech that I could find. But included in Gregory’s nuggets of wisdom was apparently criticism of the “crackers” in Census management for not showing up for the talk.
In case you are wondering, “crackers” have nothing to do with Nabisco.