Entertainer and human rights activist Harry Belafonte speaks during a press conference at the Arts Presenters Members Conference in New York, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2006 . Belafonte called U.S. President George W. Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world" in a recent television broadcast. (AP Photo/Shiho Fukada)
What do you do when it has been a while since you made headlines? If you are Harry Belafonte, apparently you say the president should jail Republicans.
The American singer-songwriter, once considered the “Kind of Calypso,” this week ignited outrage – and plenty of eye rolls – after speaking with MSNBC’s Al Sharpton and saying President Obama should rule like a third-world dictator and toss his GOP opponents behind bars.
“That there should be this lingering infestation of really corrupt people who sit trying to dismantle the wishes of the people, the mandate that has been given to Barack Obama, and I don’t know what more they want,” he said. “The only thing left for Barack Obama to do is to work like a third world dictator and just put all these guys in jail.”
Belafonte went on to claim that Republicans are "violating the American desire" by working to keep government limited, taxes low and the country solvent. Sharpton was clearly amused by the suggestion – and could be heard laughing in the background.
But some critics are far from amused.
“Harry Belafonte has a long career as singer, actor, civil rights crusader, and now, professional lefty nutball. He no longer is content to just abuse conservatives, now he wants to envision Obama as a third-world dictator and have his opponents jailed,” Dan Gainor, VP of Business & Culture at the Media Research Institute, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column.
Belafonte’s latest remarks have also drawn condemnation across the Twitterverse, including from former GOP Presidential hopeful, Herman Cain, who tweeted: “What’s up with these crazy liberals?”
“Every time Harry Belafonte is given a chance to speak, we are granted the opportunity to laugh at his incompetence,” tweeted one, while another called him a “total wackjob.” Another observed: “Don't know what's more disturbing, Harry Belafonte's statement or that @MSNBC thinks he's worth talking to.”
This is hardly the first time Belafonte ignited a media star with his anti-Republican remarks. In 2002, he began making heated comments against then-President George W. Bush and his administration.
“There is an old saying, in the days of slavery. There were those slaves who lived on the plantation, and there were those slaves who lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master, do exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him,” he said in an interview with a San Diego radio station, referring to a quote made by civil rights radical Malcolm X. “That gave you privilege. Colin Powell is committed to come into the house of the master, as long as he would serve the master, according to the master's purpose. And when Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture. And you don't hear much from those who live in the pasture.”
Powell later called the remarks "unfortunate" while Secretary of State Rice responded: "I don't need Harry Belafonte to tell me what it means to be black."
Some wonder why the mainstream media continues to provide a platform for Belafonte.
“In recent years, Belafonte has said that President George W. Bush as ‘the greatest terrorist in the world’ was ‘no better’ than Osama bin Laden,” Gainor added. “He has claimed the Tea Parties were ‘at the vanguard’ of ‘the greatest threat of all is the undermining of our Constitution.’ The equally bizarre hosts of MSNBC keep giving Belafonte a platform because they want to give such bizarre comments credibility. It's an embarrassment to a once-great man to have fallen so far.”
Reps for Belafonte and MSNBC did not respond to a request for further comment.