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David Cross Says Charlyne Yi Incident Wasn’t Racist Because He Was Performing ‘A Southern Redneck Character’

Yi accused Cross of being racist towards her when they first met a decade ago.

David Cross


David Cross has issued a new statement defending himself against claims made by comedian Charlyne Yi that he was racist towards her when they first met a decade ago. Yi accused Cross of racism in a Twitter thread posted October 16, in which she claims Cross made fun of her tattered pants. After she refused to pay attention to him, Cross allegedly responded, “What’s a matter? You don’t speak English? Ching-chong-ching-chong.” He then asked the comedian whether or not she would fight karate with him. 

The “Arrested Development” star denied the claims instantly, saying Yi’s allegations seemed “crazy and way out of character” for him. “I can’t believe I have to write this but I am not a racist nor a bully and loathe them in real life,” Cross tweeted. The actor said he would be reaching out to Yi privately to discuss the matter, and has issued a new statement which claims that the only reason he would’ve been racist that night would be if he was playing a character.

“I believe I may have figured it out,” Cross wrote in a lengthy post on Twitter. He says the encounter occurred at a hotel bar in Shreveport, Louisiana where the cast of a film was meeting to get to know each other before production. Cross and Yi were among the cast members. Yi was the girlfriend of one of Cross’ friends, so the actor says he was aware of her before they met in person.

“When introduced to her, I must have done my version of a southern redneck character,” Cross writes, “one which I am well acquainted with from growing up in Georgia, which I have made fun of forever (Ronnie Dobbs, stand up, etc.) and Charlyne did not understand I was doing my ‘welcome to Shreveport’ greeting. As well, I had no idea she was upset or I would’ve apologized.”

Cross ends his statement with a message to the social media users who have been condemning his behavior online: “I truly hope, and I mean this from the bottom of my soul, that this happens to you too. Maybe then you won’t be so quick to judge. But…probably not.”

Read the actor’s full statement below.

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