Harold Perrineau is disappointed by his character's exit from "Lost." But not half as disappointed as all "Lost" fans should be by Perrineau's reaction to his character's exit.
The actor tossed allegations of racism in the direction of the show's writers and producers, which is nothing short of reprehensible.
In the season finale of "Lost," Michael (Perrineau) was blown up when explosives destroyed the freighter and took it to the bottom of the ocean. While the death of some "Lost" characters is somewhat nebulous, we're assured that Michael is completely, totally, irrevocably dead.
Perrineau did not take Michael's demise well. In an interview with TV Guide, he went so far as to complain that not only the death but the story line were somehow attributable to Michael being black. And he took it as some sort of personal affront that Michael and his son, Walt (Malcolm David Kelley), weren't reunited on the show.
"Listen, if I'm being really candid, there are all these questions about how they respond to black people on the show," he told the magazine. "Sayid gets to meet Nadia again, and Desmond and Penny hook up again, but a little black boy and his father hooking up, that wasn't interesting? Instead, Walt just winds up being another fatherless child. It plays into a really big, weird stereotype, and being a black person myself, that wasn't so interesting."
Michael's story line wasn't exactly the greatest thing that's happened on "Lost." I was rather disappointed in it myself.
But that's no excuse for Perrineau to react as he did. He based his charge of racism on what happened to his character, but it's as if he's never watched the show.
"Lost" has always been not only racially diverse but essentially colorblind. There are major characters who are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Arabic.
A lot of characters have died on "Lost," and most of them have not been black. Most of them didn't get any sort of happy ending. Most of them died pointless deaths; Michael was at least trying to do something heroic to make amends for murdering two women one of them a pointless killing.
Plus, Sayid and Nadia don't exactly have a happy ending. We've already seen that Nadia will be murdered shortly after the reunion.
And to suggest that black characters don't get happy endings is also erroneous. Rose (L. Scott Caldwell) was not only reunited with her missing husband, Bernard (Sam Anderson), but her terminal cancer has disappeared.
Perrineau admits he never talked to the writers, never shared his feelings with them. He just tossed this bomb at them.
He has backtracked. In a subsequent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Perrineau said, "I should probably think more before I say things. I should especially think before I say anything racial, because I recognize that when you make a racial comment, it polarizes people. That was never the intention."
That's all well and good, but, as the saying goes, you can't unring a bell. He put an unfounded charge of racism out there. At the very least, he needs to make a public apology.
It's virtually impossible to defend yourself against allegations of racism. No matter what you say, it tends to sound like "some of my best friends are black." Which is never convincing.
"Lost" executive producer Carlton Cuse took the high road in a response to TV Guide.
"We pride ourselves on having a very racially diverse cast," he said. "It's painful when any actor's story line ends on the show. Harold is a fantastic actor whose presence added enormously to 'Lost."'
Would that Perrineau had that kind of class.
By the way, Perrineau has signed on to the pilot for another show ABC is developing.
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