Awkward Tim Allen interview reignites accusations of racism

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The Toy Story 4 publicity tour may have hit a speed bump — and it’s all kicked off thanks to an interview about a card game.

The film’s stars, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, sat down for a press junket interview with Global Grind entertainment reporter Xilla Valentine. Inspired by Hanks’s participation in a popular “Black Jeopardy!” skit for Saturday Night Live, Valentine challenged the actors to prove their “black cards” by answering a question about the card game spades.

While Hanks passed with flying colors with his references to seeing guys play whist in Oakland, Calif. — “Tom Hanks always has an invite to the cookout,” raved a commenter — Allen admitted that he wasn’t familiar with spades and joked about feeling left out of the conversation.

Valentine later shared a longer interview featuring Hanks and a more participatory Allen, and retweeted a note that the Last Man Standing star “isn’t as grouchy as he comes off.”

But Allen — whose political views have made him something of a blue-collar, conservative hero, though he’s clarified that he didn’t vote for Donald Trump — is getting criticized for his demeanor in the clip, which many claim has racial implications.

It might have all just amounted to some jokes at Allen’s expense. But the actor’s name started trending on Twitter on Wednesday when commenters cited a past interview in which the former Home Improvement star argued for his right to say the n-word.

Writer Scott Weinberg, who called Allen a “stupid f***ing bigot,” shared a screenshot from the comedian’s 2013 interview with the Tampa Bay Times. While that newspaper no longer has the interview online, it was referenced in a Daily Mail article shortly after it came out.

(Photo: Twitter)

At the time, Allen insisted that the phrase “the n-word” was “worse” than the actual uncensored slur. He also defended celebrity chef Paula Deen for using the slur and expressed confusion over why white people can’t say it.

“I’ve had this argument on stage a million times. I do a movie with Martin Lawrence and pretty soon they’re referring to me, ‘hey, my n—–’s up,’” he said. “So I’m the n—– if I’m around you guys but seven feet away, if I said n—–, it’s not right.”

Allen’s comments, which were slammed in 2013, have once again sparked outcry.

“After reading tweets about Tim Allen, I see why Trump is president,” read one comment. “People aren’t saying he’s a racist because he can’t play spades, they’re saying he’s racist because he’s said racist s*** in the past. How dense of a biscuit do you have to be to not understand that?”

In response, Allen’s fans and conservative commenters are coming to his defense and claiming that the negative attention is overblown.

Allen also courted controversy when he likened being a Republican in Hollywood to “1930s Germany” during a 2017 interview with Jimmy Kimmel. His sitcom, Last Man Standing, was subsequently canceled by ABC, then picked up by Fox.

LAST MAN STANDING – ‘Three Sisters’ – When Mike and Vanessa turn down Eve’s request for money to cover some recording equipment, Kristin jumps in and offers to front the bill. Mike later confronts Kristin for undercutting his parenting and giving money to Eve, and Kristin snaps back at him for always spoiling Mandy. Back at the Outdoor Man office, Kyle and Ed have an extremely awkward encounter that, in a strange way, brings them closer together. Later on at the Baxter home, dinner turns into disaster, as Eve, Mandy and Kristin argue about how unfairly their parents treat them. With everyone at odds, Mike and Vanessa come up with a plan to reunite the girls, on ‘Last Man Standing,’ airing FRIDAY, JANUARY 6 (8:00-8:31 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network. (Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images)
TIM ALLEN

LAST MAN STANDING – ‘A House Divided’ – When Mike and Vanessa ask newlyweds Mandy and Kyle to tone down their constant displays of affection, Mandy agrees but only if her parents become more discreet in the way they express their feelings to each other. Meanwhile, Kristen gets Eve a gig playing at the Grill, but Ed wants to fire her after a lackluster performance, on ‘Last Man Standing,’ airing FRIDAY, JANUARY 20 (8:00-8:31 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network. (Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)
MOLLY EPHRAIM, CHRISTOPH SANDERS, TIM ALLEN, NANCY TRAVIS

LAST MAN STANDING – ‘Trick or Treat’ – It’s Halloween and the Baxter family is excited for their annual party, except for Mike who’s reluctantly tasked with choosing the theme. In hopes of turning everyone against the holiday, Mike decides that maybe if the whole family has to dress up like each other they’ll end up making fun of one another. Eve dresses up like Mandy and Mandy dresses down like Eve, Kristin and Ryan swap roles, and Mike shows up to the party as… Donald Trump!? The impersonating turns into bickering but in the end, the Baxters come together to support Vanessa as she learns that she’s being laid off, on ‘Last Man Standing,’ FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21 (8:00-8:31 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Tony Rivetti/ABC via Getty Images)
TIM ALLEN, JONATHAN ADAMS

LAST MAN STANDING – ‘Trick or Treat’ – It’s Halloween and the Baxter family is excited for their annual party, except for Mike who’s reluctantly tasked with choosing the theme. In hopes of turning everyone against the holiday, Mike decides that maybe if the whole family has to dress up like each other they’ll end up making fun of one another. Eve dresses up like Mandy and Mandy dresses down like Eve, Kristin and Ryan swap roles, and Mike shows up to the party as… Donald Trump!? The impersonating turns into bickering but in the end, the Baxters come together to support Vanessa as she learns that she’s being laid off, on ‘Last Man Standing,’ FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21 (8:00-8:31 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Tony Rivetti/ABC via Getty Images)
NANCY TRAVIS, TIM ALLEN

LAST MAN STANDING – ‘Gameday Forecast: Showers’ – When a Jack and Jill wedding shower for Mandy and Kyle is announced, Mike is disappointed to learn it’s on the same day as the big Broncos-Chargers game. In an effort to catch the game with Joe (Jay Leno) and the guys, Mike convinces the couple to hold separate showers. Ryan offers to host the men’s festivities at his place, and to Mike’s dismay, he’s more into party planning than anyone would have thought. Meanwhile, Ed’s convinced that sticking to his superstitious rituals is the only way to see to it that the Broncos pull out a big win, even if it means interfering with Mandy’s wedding shower, on ‘Last Man Standing,’ FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 (8:00-8:31 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Tony Rivetti/ABC via Getty Images)
JAY LENO, AMANDA FULLER, TIM ALLEN

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