Two men who say they were the target of a racist rant by actor-comedian Michael Richards at a comedy club are seeking a personal apology and perhaps some money, said their lawyer Friday.
The men, Frank McBride and Kyle Doss, both of whom are black, said they were part of a group of about 20 people who had gathered at West Hollywood's Laugh Factory to celebrate a friend's birthday. According to their attorney, Gloria Allred, they were ordering drinks when Richards berated them for interrupting his act.
When one of the members of their group replied that Richards was not funny, the comedian launched into a string of obscenities and repeatedly used a derogatory term for African-Americans. A cell phone videocamera captured the outburst.
Richards, who played Jerry Seinfeld's wacky neighbor Kramer on the long-running TV comedy "Seinfeld," made a nationally televised apology on David Letterman's "Late Night" talk show earlier this week. He has since publicly apologized to two prominent civil rights leaders, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
But Allred complained Friday that he "has not apologized to his victims directly, face to face, man to man."
Richards' publicist said his client wants to apologize to both men, who are black, but has not been able to locate them.
Allred, speaking by telephone from Colorado, said Richards should meet McBride and Doss in front of a retired judge to "acknowledge his behavior and to apologize to them" and allow the judge to decide on monetary compensation.
"It's not enough to say 'I'm sorry,"' she said.
She did not mention a specific figure, but pitched the idea as a way for the comic to avoid a lawsuit.
"Our clients were vulnerable," Allred said. "He went after them. He singled them out and he taunted them, and he did it in a closed room where they were captive."
The video of Richards' outburst shows several people getting up and walking out as he shouts at the audience.
"He's willing to talk to them privately and apologize to them," said Richards' publicist, Howard Rubenstein.
But he said Richards was not considering any demand for payment,
"He's not dealing with that" Rubenstein said. "He wants to apologize to them directly and then see what happens.
Meanwhile, Tom Green, a comedian who's often been criticized for his own twisted humor, says Richards is being unfairly trashed, the New York Post reported Friday.
"Anybody in that room . . . would have had just cause to have gotten up onstage that night and punched Michael Richards right in the [bleep]ing face . . . [Bleep], dude. Kramer [bleep]ing lost it. But at the end of the day, I don't think Michael Richards is a racist," Green writes on his blog.
"Unlike Mel Gibson, who probably does hold racist attitudes, I don't think Michael Richards doesn't like black people. I think he was just trying to say the craziest and most vile thing in that room he could possibly muster. And I think he dug deep, into the darkest corners of his mind, to say those evil things to those men. But he did it in a small room, in an exchange, during a performance, and it wasn't meant for us. It was just meant for that room. So why don't we just let them settle it? . . . Let's leave Michael Richards alone."