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One of the defining early moments of Kanye West’s career came when he said on national television that “George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people” during a 2005 Hurricane Katrina telethon. Comedian Mike Myers was standing next to West when he made that comment and looked back on the moment in a new interview.
While speaking with GQ, the Austin Powers star said that he was moved by the images of devastation in New Orleans and wanted to help the Red Cross, so he did the telethon without a second thought. When asked if he would make his appearance with West, he said yes, even though he didn’t know too much about the rapper.
West told Myers that he would be taking some “liberties” during their appearance, “but I didn't know that the liberty would be calling out the president.”
Myers agreed that it looked like West was even surprised that he said that about the President. He noted that he did partly agree with West, as it did look like more black people were struggling in the wake of the disaster than white people.
“For me it isn't about the look of embarrassment on my face, it is truly about the injustice that was happening in New Orleans,” Myers told the magazine. “I don't mind answering the question but the emphasis of it being that I'm the guy next to the guy who spoke a truth. I assume that George Bush does care about black people—I mean I don't know him, I'm going to make that assumption—but I can definitively say that it appeared to me watching television that had that been white people, the government would have been there faster.”
Myers explained that he was a bit disappointed that people focused on the shocked look on his face, rather than what West said.
“To have the emphasis on the look on my face versus the fact that somebody spoke truth to power at a time when somebody needed to speak? I'm very proud to have been next to him,” Myers added.
Myers is best known as a former Saturday Night Live star and also voiced Shrek and starred in the Austin Powers movies.