CNN host Chris Cuomo has apologized after referring to an Indian-American White House staffer as “Raj whatever-his-name-is” on air this week.
Viewers and critics accused Cuomo of racism, which he refuted during his apology.
Cuomo was on air on Monday discussing recent comments by President Donald Trump when he said, “We went to the White House when it happened and Raj whatever-his-name-is didn’t back off the words.”
Raj’s last name is Shah.
Shah took to Twitter to tell Cuomo his last name.
Cuomo soon responded, saying “Sorry for the mistake, Raj. Won’t happen again. Please know that you are welcome to come on the show anytime.”
— Raj Shah (@RajShah45) January 15, 2018
Sorry for the mistake, Raj. Won’t happen again. Please know that you are welcome to come on the show anytime. https://t.co/kw669MfP0a
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) January 15, 2018
According to Fox News, Cuomo immediately after an apology on air said that he is not racist.
“I forgot Raj’s last name this morning. I apologize for that. And then there wound up being a counter-narrative: ‘Well, that makes you racist,’” Cuomo said. “It’s not helpful… it’s being said.”
Some viewers, though, said Cuomo said what he did on purpose.
“That wasn’t a mistake,” said one Twitter user. “It was blatant disrespect. I don’t watch your channel, but I saw the clip. Oh, and no amount of President Trump bashing that you and your colleagues do is going to make me drop my support for him or ever make me vote for a Democrat.”
Others, though, insisted that Cuomo just made a mistake and has no history of racist comments.
“To all those calling this racist, just stop. You know it’s not, hyperbole doesn’t make it so,” said one Twitter user. “You can tease Chris and razz him about something like this and it would be deserved but ultimately it’s definitely not proof of racism on his part especially given his record.”
Incidentally, this is not the first time that Shah has been disrespected by CNN.
In early December, Anderson Cooper anchored a segment about a Trump rally in Florida. While talking about Raj Shah having spoken at the event, they flashed a picture of a different Raj Shah.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) December 9, 2017
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded to the apparent gaffe on Twitter.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 15, 2018