Comedian Kurt Metzger had everyone talking this week after a recent string of Facebook posts. The posts concerned sexual assault accusations against a fellow comedian and brought on a ton of anger from internet activists and a lot of media attention. This time, though, his ranting cost him a gig, and got him some Twitter scolding from Amy Schumer. But Kurt says there’s no beef with Amy or the truTV show that cancelled his appearance this week. He talked about the controversy on his Race Wars Podcast on SiriusXM Wednesday night, a show which he co-hosts with Sherrod Small, and said he is totally fine with both decisions.
Some quick backstory. On Saturday, August 13th, an as-yet-unnamed woman went onto an all-female comedian’s Facebook group and posted a statement, on behalf of another woman, saying a male comedian was a rapist. The post was soon shared around social media and quickly gained traction. The problem of sexual assault in the comedy world is a serious one, more prevalent than has been talked about in the past. Clubs are trying to address the problem, with some clubs instituting guidelines similar to workplace HR departments. UCB is one of those clubs trying to change the environment for women, so they banned the accused comic from performing at the club, and soon after, a few other clubs followed suit.
The conversation on Facebook started with most commenters applauding the clubs’ decision to ban the performer in question. Others, like Metzger and Michael Che had a problem with banning comedians from clubs based on anonymous allegations. Metzger, not one to shy away from controversial statements, escalated his statements and had some particularly fiery rants to get off his chest. His rants garnered national attention with articles in Variety, the Daily Dot, Mic.com and other publications, as scores of internet activists petitioned Schumer via Twitter to fire Metzger, who writes for Inside Amy Schumer.
Wednesday afternoon, Schumer addressed the building controversy around Metzger with some initially confusing comments via Twitter. “I am so saddened and disappointed in Kurt Metzger,” she wrote. “He is my friend and a great writer and I couldn’t be more against his recent actions.” She also tweeted “Kurt does not work for me. He is not a writer on my show” leading to widespread speculation that Kurt had been fired, because he is credited as writing for all nine episodes of season four of Inside Amy Schumer.
I am so saddened and disappointed in Kurt Metzger. He is my friend and a great writer and I couldn't be more against his recent actions.
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) August 17, 2016
On Race Wars Wednesday night, Metzger apologized for some of the more polarizing comments, but stuck by his original statements decrying mob justice and the dangers of taking anonymous accusations at face value without more information. Metzger also revealed that he isn’t upset at Amy Schumer for her tweets, and doesn’t want anyone to give her a hard time for her posts. He said he told Amy to say anything she had to, to get the anger and the controversy off of her and her career. “I told [Amy], do anything you can to take this off of you and on to me.” He reaffirmed this in a new Facebook post Wednesday night.
Metzger didn’t specifically address Schumer’s second tweet, but Schumer later did. She clarified that Kurt wasn’t fired with yet another surprise setting off more media speculation. “I didn’t fire Kurt. He isn’t a writer for my show because we aren’t making the show anymore. There are no writers for it.” Back in January Comedy Central announced there would be a fifth season of Inside Amy Schumer, so her tweet left media wondering, whether Amy Schumer just quit her show on the spot, or was referring to a hiatus or what? And neither her agents or Comedy Central have responded to anyone’s requests for clarification.
Kurt does not work for me. He is not a writer on my show. Please stop asking me about it. His words are not mine.
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) August 17, 2016
I didn't fire Kurt. He isn't a writer for my show because we aren't making the show anymore. There are no writers for it.
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) August 18, 2016
Wednesday’s episode of Race Wars is an interesting listen, and available now on SoundCloud (listen below). In addition to hearing Kurt say his scheduled appearance on truTV’s Comedy Knockout was cancelled based on the controversy, you can hear him talk about getting too caught up in the argument and letting it get out of hand. It’s an interesting discussion of all the issues with co-host Sherrod Small and in-studio guests Charlamagne Tha God, Erin Gloria Ryan, and Karen Margolis.
The highlight of the episode came from a call in from comedian Barry Crimmins, who stood up for Kurt as being a good guy, but cautioned everyone against getting mired in the wrong arguments. “[Kurt] saw the film that Bobcat made about me which largely hinges on the fact that I was raped multiple times as a four year old boy. His response was as compassionate and right on as anybody. He’s a good guy and I think the world of him,” Barry said. “But I wanna say, I read what you wrote today Kurt, and I understand it was satirical and I get it….but it could have been done better without the “hole” line.” Barry said he understood Metzger’s reaction to the lynch mob mentality, but then called for everyone interested in the debate to refocus, and reminded everyone that Kurt shouldn’t be the focus of this conversation- the only thing that matters is preventing rape and creating a safer environment for everyone. “People want to condemn someone forever and that’s wrong. We want to move further in this issue that we’re in the foothills of.”
If you’re really interested in knowing the full story, you can listen to Wednesday night’s episode of Race Wars below.