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Comedian under fire for past rant against American Indians postpones shows


Standup comedian Ralphie May postponed Tuesday night's show in Fargo and a pair of other Upper Midwestern performances amid criticism over a routine in which May ranted against American Indians.

Video clips showing May profanely deriding Native Americans as alcoholics who never made it into the Bronze Age led Bemidji city officials to cancel a show May had scheduled in that city last week.

The American Indian Movement and other critics of May had planned to protest in Fargo on Tuesday, the Bemidji Pioneer reports.

The postponements in Fargo, Burnsville, and Sioux Falls were announced by the promoter of May's tour, Jade Presents. In the statement May says he postponed the three shows "...out of respect for the Native American community and safety for all parties."

May added:

"A video that surfaced on YouTube hurt and offended many people and I am truly sorry. I thought I was a well-read, educated man. I know nothing. I’m a product of mass media and the US public school system. I have learned so much this week and I want to learn more. My eyes are open and I hope to be a conduit for things that we are not taught.”

American Indian Movement co-founder Clyde Bellecourt called the 44-second clip of May that's on YouTube "one of the most racist things I've ever seen," Forum News Service reports.

The statement from Jade Presents says May has been in touch with one of the leaders of the American Indian Movement and plans to speak with them again this week.

The company says a new date for a Fargo show will be announced as soon as possible and those with tickets to Tuesday's postponed show should hold onto them.

May has said the recently released video was edited and taken out of context. He maintains the rant led up to a punch line which showed that bigotry was the real butt of the joke, but says that was omitted from the video posted to YouTube.

The Star Tribune reports the online video of May was taken from a 2005 show.

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