Samuel L. Jackson Was Wrong and Behaved Like A Jerk: Why Is Sam Rubin The One Who Is Apologizing?

Sam Rubin, entertainment reporter for KTLA in Los Angeles, is being ridiculed far and wide for “mistaking Samuel L. Jackson for Laurence Fishburne – while interviewing Jackson on live TV!”

Bulletin: That’s not what occurred.

Jackson was wrong, Rubin was correct, and Jackson’s long riff, funny as it was, about how white guys can’t tell black actors apart was both a cheap shot and viciously unfair. Rubin made no such mistake. Jackson owes him an apology. Watch this  trailer:

Did you see that black actor in two places in the video? That was Samuel L. Jackson, not Laurence Fishburne. That video di run during the Super Bowl, and was obviously what Rubin was referring to when he began his question with “You’re working for Marvel…” Marvel Comics, the creators of Captain America, in which Laurence Fishburne has no role.

Maybe Jackson wasn’t aware that the trailer ran, but that’s no excuse: he essentially implied Rubin was a racist, unprepared, incompetent, and should be fired. Rubin was unprepared, all right—he was unprepared for a classic Jackson rant that he didn’t deserve. Rubin didn’t get Jackson mixed up with another black actor; Jackson jumped to an unjustified conclusion and unfairly made Rubin look like an idiot.

And what did our crack news media do, Rubin’s supposed colleagues? Yhey  immediately presumed that Jackson had a racial “gotcha,” and mocked Rubin—for doing nothing wrong!

Rather than letting Rubin point out that Jackson was being a race-baiting jerk, KTLA made him apologize, which he did, in a classic “I’m apologizing but I have no idea for what but I’m going to say I did something wrong anyway” statement, saying…

“We start right now with the beauty and the occasional pain of live television. First and foremost, I do know who Samuel L. Jackson is. I’ve interviewed him several times over the years, but never quite like the conversation we just had. I indicated to Samuel that I’d seen him during the Super Bowl, and he thought that I had confused him with the commercial Laurence Fishburne had done for a car company. Of course a “Captain America” ad had also run during the Super Bowl, but I immediately felt so dumb, I didn’t bring that up — and he gave me the shellacking that was well deserved. I pride myself on the fact — that unlike a lot of people who do this kind of work — more often than not, I really do know what I’m talking about. But I didn’t 30 minutes ago, and I’m really embarrassed about it, and I very much apologize to Samuel L. Jackson and anyone else who was offended for what was a very amateur mistake.”


  • How was he unprepared for the fact that Jackson had Fishburne on the brain?
  • What was “amateur” about what he did?
  • What justification did anyone, including Jackson, have to be “offended”?
  • Why did Rubin deserve a shellacking because his guest didn’t know that a trailer of his own film, with him appearing in the trailer, had aired during the Super Bowl?
  • Why is Rubin responsible for what Jackson mistakenly thought, when there was no reason for him to think it except his own bigotry, which obviously causes him to be ready at the drop of a hat to assume that white people think all blacks look alike?
  • Why didn’t a single news, web or broadcast outlet (that I can find—there are hundred of links to sources saying that Jackson ripped a news anchor who mistook him for another black actor) have the integrity to point out that Jackson was mistaken and completely out of line? Or did none of them watch the beginning of the interview before piling on Rubin?

If a black celebrity says a white reporter is a racist, then he must be a racist, and it’s wrong, or at least perilous, to challenge him, I guess.

Samuel L. Jackson, and every lazy, gutless reporter and writer that blatantly misrepresented the incident because of their own biases owes Sam Rubin an apology.

[Further Ethics Alarms analysis of the Rubin-Jackson incident is here]


Sources: USA Today 1, 2

64 thoughts on “Samuel L. Jackson Was Wrong and Behaved Like A Jerk: Why Is Sam Rubin The One Who Is Apologizing?

    • Samuel L. Jackson is a racist. He admits to voting for Obama just because he’s black. He doesn’t agree with Obama’s politics but still voted for him. Here is a guy that only cares about skin color. Suck a F-ing racist but never gets called out for it.

  1. “The exchange with Costner came two days after Samuel L. Jackson eviscerated Rubin in a live interview when Rubin confused the African American actor with Laurence Fishburne….“From the Los Angeles Times TODAY!!!

    I know I’m obsessing about this, but I really am stunned. Nobody in the media seems to care that the story is completely at odds with the observable, unequivocal facts. If they will do this just to suck up to Jackson, how can anyone deny that the media distorts facts on matter that they really care about?

    • I managed to get a somewhat independent Pop Culture Critic in England to spread the word to his readers… for what that’s worth.

      From others, mostly incredulity that I’d question the mass-narrative. From the producer of the Radio show I’d hoped would run the rectified story, I saw she doubled down and congratulated Sam Rubin for his continued grace under fire.

    • It’s all ridiculous anyway, ever since Samuel L Jackson got a start in his role in the civil war movie “Glory”, and his quick rise to fame in the TV Series the “Cosby Show”, plus his various appearances in notable films as Russell Crowe’s friend in “Gladiator”, and Christian Bale’s main business associate in the new “Batman” movies, as well as his excellent portrayal of one of the lead rebels in the “Matrix Trilogy”, he’s let stardom get to his head.

  2. I thought Samuel L. Jackson acted like a stone cold ass. He was rude and obnoxious. The guy made an honest mistake and immediately apologized for it. But, that won’t good enough for Mr. Jackson, he had to have his pound of flesh, too. What a jerk.

  3. Jackson also falsely went after a reporter at last years Comic Con stating he wasn’t in the first Captain America film. He was in the film at the end…Is Jaskson so messed up from his past drug use that he remembers imaginary facts and attacks every white person as either getting them wrong or anti black? (The Comic Con reporter was also white). That reporter also got frazzled and didn’t correct the wrong and obnoxious Jackson. To top it off, fellow Jackson flunkie, Anthony Mackie, joined in and made a joke at the reporters expense too. What a surprise. Mackie has said in the past that he looks up to Jackson. They’re both tools.

    • I am less concerned about Jackson, who is a wonderful actor and obviously something of an asshole, making him, sadly, the Hollywood norm, than I am every single news media outlet that reported the incident as a white reporter seeing all black actors as indistinguishable, which was not consistent with the facts. I think it was a frightening example, on a small scale, of how the mainstream media will stick to progressive/liberal “narratives” useful to the cause even when it means intentionally misleading the public. If Ethics Alarms isn’t the only voice that made a big deal out of this, and it is is one, I’m not aware of another. That should bother liberals and conservatives alike.

  4. Sounds like the person who wrote this is the ktla guy himself wouldn’t be surprised if he made profiles to comment and defend himself for his ego bet he couldn’t sleep for weeks after this mistake every time they bring up his mistake he try’s to change the subject fast he it’s hilarious

  5. Here, I felt sorry for the anchor, and perhaps his underlings that may have provided the information, because Mr. Jackson wouldn’t be the bigger man, act mature, and move on. Now I know that the actor was wrong in the first place. He definitely owes the anchor an apology, as do the guy’s superiors. You rant the man for not standing up for his principles, but we don’t know his story. In this economy, he may have needed his job more than his personal pride, especially since outing himself with a popular celebrity could ruin his career.

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