Winning the Best Foreign Film for "In the Fade," German director Fatih Akin added an off-color joke in his acceptance speech when he thanked Warner Brothers and then joked "If you see a cop warn a brother," right after. The Golden Globes is well-known for its fun, booze-heavy atmosphere so the joke could've been just the result of saying the first thing that comes to mind after hitting the sauce, but it was hella inappropriate, and it didn't go unnoticed.
That play on words is a well-known inside joke among African-Americans, for whom the joke is so ingrained into everyday banter that it's on T-shirts. (The tongue-in-cheek crack refers to the long history of over-policing inner city communities and the difficult topic of police brutality.) Though it's a light-hearted joke, it's one generally understood to be reserved just for people actually in the black community, or at the very least not one to be awkwardly blurted out with zero context while winning an award for a film that has nothing to do with police brutality.
For many people, it stung — especially considering that while the very important and urgent #MeToo and Time's Up movement have galvanized all of Hollywood, that wasn't exactly the case after a string of high-profile cases showed video evidence of police assaulting or killing unarmed black Americans.
I have so many questions. Who told that dude the "If you see a cop, Warn-A-Brother," joke? And why did he think it'd land a) coming out of his mouth and b) anywhere but the ComicView stage or a t-shirt worn by a black person?— Niela Orr (@nielaorr) January 8, 2018
Nobody else is a little thrown by this German director getting on stage talkembout "If you see a cop, Warn a brother" .? Lmao.. I KNOW I'm not the only one. #GoldenGlobes2018— Charli Chaplin (@charlichaplin_) January 8, 2018
This white German mothafucka just got on the #GoldenGlobes stage and said, "Thanks to my producers Warner Bros. If you see a cop, warn a brother."— Marcel Williams (@WHUTUPDOE) January 8, 2018
I'm fucking done.