Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman sparks outcry by claiming Tea Party opposition to Barack Obama is fuelled by racial prejudice
Actor Morgan Freeman has sparked fury -- and some delight -- after accusing the Tea Party of racism in its opposition to US President Barack Obama.
The Oscar-winning star of The Shawshank Redemption told talk show host Piers Morgan on Friday that the Republican offshoot's determination to avoid a second term under Obama was fuelled by prejudice towards the colour of the president's skin.
Unhappy actor: Morgan Freeman said Tea Party policy towards US President Barack Obama 'shows the weak, dark, underside of America'. File pic
"Stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term," he said. "What ... underlines that? S***w the country. We're going to do whatever we do to get this black man ... outta here."
Freeman added: "It just shows the weak, dark, underside of America. We're supposed to be better than that. We really are. That's, that's why all those people were in tears when Obama was elected president. 'Ah, look at what we are. Look at how, this is America.' You know? And then it just sort of started turning because these people surfaced like stirring up muddy water."
African-American Tea Party candidate for the 2012 presidential election Herman Cain, who won a surprise straw poll in Florida following the Republican debate on Saturday, responded: "I doubt if Morgan Freeman, with all due respect, who is a great actor, has ever been to a Tea Party. Most of the people that are criticising the Tea Parties ... about having a racist element, they have never been to a Tea Party."
Speaking on Saturday, Cain continued: "I just think that it is sad that they're so short-sighted in really understanding what the whole Tea Party citizen movement is all about. So, name calling is something that's going to continue in this because they don't know how to stop this movement. And this movement is making a big difference in politics, because a lot of the traditional Democrats are moving to the centre or moving over to vote for conservatives. They're taking another look at a Herman Cain."
There were suggestions that Freeman's comments may have negatively affected the box office performance of his new film Dolphin Tale.