A nationally-known comedian says he quit a weekend gig at a Marco Island club due to a racist remark.
The comedy club owner rebuffs the claim and says the comedian was fired due to bad behavior.
Fazion Love, a comedian and actor, best known for his work in “Couples Retreat,” “Friday,” “Blue Crush,” and a slew of other Hollywood hits in the ‘90s, took to Twitter to explain why his show at Capt. Brien’s was cancelled.
The African-Cuban comedian was set to perform at Capt. Brien’s Off the Hook Comedy Club from Sept. 15 to the 18. But Love said three nights was enough.
Via Twitter, Love said he cancelled the show because of racial bigotry.
“I overheard the skipper telling a waitress, (the N-word) don’t tip enough Saturday after the first show. So I canceled Sunday,” he tweeted.
Capt. Brien’s is claiming they fired Love and removed him from the club.
Love said on Twitter to Capt. Brien: “For the record I have never been fired from a comedy club and how do you fire someone after they have done five shows... .”
To which Capt. Brien’s responded: “For the record, you don’t have any gigs to get fired from... Opener for 1 of the biggest names in comedy doesn’t make you a star.”
Brien Spina, also known as Capt. Brien, said Love’s claims of racism are unfounded and that he’s just trying to “save face” after being late, drunk and finally being asked to leave the club.
Spina said Love showed up late for two performances and chugged six or seven glasses of red wine during another. Love said he doesn’t drink and a woman from the audience had sent up the glass of wine.
After Love’s Saturday night performance, which Spina almost cancelled after the comedian showed up 90 minutes late, the dispute spiraled into a Twitter fight.
Spina said Love and his “rep” wanted cash only, which Spina said was not in the contract. An argument ensued and Spina called Marco police.
Spina said two officers came and escorted Love out of the club. Love then took to Twitter with a vengeance.
“This has nothing to do with black or white or anything. That never came up until he started tweeting” Spina said. “He’s trying to make it that way to make me look like a bad guy.”
Spina denied any claims of being a racist or there being any race issues the entire weekend. He said all of Love’s tweets have been lies.
“It’s an ignorant statement, we have just as many white customers as we do black,” Spina said. “The performers are 50/50 black and white.”
A local comedian supported Brien’s claims. Magnum Jackson, who was the opening act, said Love behaved poorly.
“I have no problem with Faizon,” said Jackson, 25. “He was just unprofessional this weekend. Showed up late to every show, got drunk”
Despite Love saying he does not drink, Jackson said he watched him drink glass after glass of red wine.
Love has rallied support for the racist claims on Twitter, but Jackson, who is an African-American comedian, said he has never experienced any hate at Capt. Brien’s.
“Brien, his parents, the managers and staff are all wonderful,” Jackson said via Twitter. “I’ve worked with all ethnicities of comics there. Never have I once heard anything remotely close to that happening.”
In an official statement on the club’s website, www.captbriens.com, Spina said: “Love’s fabrication of being a victim of racism in this instance is an insult to the African Americans who have truly been victimized by racism and bigotry. Mr. Love’s slanderous Twitter postings are also an attempt to adversely affect the future business of Capt. Brien’s and Off the Hook Comedy Club.”
In 2007, at its national convention, the NAACP symbolically buried the N-word. Love was asked during an interview promoting the movie “Who’s Your Caddy?” about the N-word and the NAACP putting the word to rest.
“The word is as big as you want to make it,” Love said. “Our culture took it and drug it through the mud. I can see why our elder people wouldn’t want that word to be used because at the time if you grew up in the 50s and 60s when someone said it they meant it. Now, we have everyone throwing it around. Just like I just did.”
Love used the N-word during the interview.
“It means something different to us because it is a new generation,” Love said.
Love was not compensated for Saturday or Sunday. Spina said he would consider going to court to sue Love for losses.
“We’re talking thousands and thousands of dollars,” Spina said about refunding tickets and canceling the shows.