WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Mike Myers says he is “super proud” to have stood next to Kanye West when he famously said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during a live Hurricane Katrina concert benefit telethon.
The “Austin Powers” actor and comedian reflected on the 2005 clip in which Myers is seen looking a bit awkward and surprised at West’s statement that soon went viral for its blunt criticism of then-President Bush’s seemingly slow response to help African-American hurricane victims in New Orleans. The GQ interview revealed that Myers was “surprised” by West’s comment, but that he is proud of what he said.
“I remember watching the television and seeing, because I’m a citizen now, my fellow citizens on the roofs of buildings dying,” said Myers. “…I remember just being so upset and feeling, ironically, that if this was white people on roofs, the army would be there in five seconds. And these are my fellow citizens, who just happen to be people of color, sitting on roofs for multiple days,” referencing television coverage that showed many hurricane victims stranded on rooftops and bodies floating amid the partially submerged city.
“I’m, like, super proud to have been next to him,” said Myers. “The look on my face is…to be honest with you, I thought I handled it well. I was like ‘This is what’s happening…’”
Myers said that he is proud that West had spoken “truth” that day on live television, adding that it is the “message” that counts, not just the now-famous video clip, or the surprised look on his face.
“I’m the guy next to the guy who spoke a truth. I assume that George Bush does care about black people—I mean I don’t know him, I’m going to make that assumption—but I can definitively say that it appeared to me watching television that had that been white people, the government would have been there faster,” explained Myers.
“There’s a world of fail culture, and it’s hardly a fail on my part to be next to the guy that spoke truth to power at a time when horrific injustices…,” said Myers. “And so to me that’s really the point—the look on my face is, to me, almost insulting to the true essence of what went down in New Orleans,” he added.
Myers also noted that West had given him a kind of warning beforehand, saying that he was going to “take liberties with thing.” But Myers said that he “didn’t know that the liberty would be calling out the president.”