Last Friday Dulcé Sloan, a SXSW veteran, sat down for what she thought was going to be a “boring panel” with Ricky Velez, Jim Gaffigan, and John Cleese hosted by Dan Pasternack. Somehow that panel turned into a click-bait story read ‘round the world. Paste caught up with Sloan about the panel and the media attention it’s gotten; here’s her take on the evening’s events.
Paste: So we had to ask about the elephant in the room, that Hollywood Reporter article about the panel with John Cleese. I’ve read the news story and from what I’ve read, you handled that with grace and kindness, which maybe, wasn’t easy to do. How do you handle that—does that happen often or was that very unusual?
Dulcé Sloan: The article is clickbaiting.
Paste: Good. Set the record straight.
Sloan: The article is clickbaiting. He said what he said. He said that. He said those things, but it wasn’t super cringey. He was trying to make a joke. And then we were all joking, and then I hopped up and stole microphones and I was like “I’m not doing this.”
For me, I knew if anything wild happened, my name would be the first thing in it. So I was like, oh shit, my name, Ricky’s name, because the white man said something wild. There’s a Latinx man and a Black woman on the panel, we’re the first names that are going to get mentioned.
I was like, “if anything pops off, I am not going down with this man.”
But also, it seemed like everything was taken out of context. He said what he said, and I didn’t agree with everything that he said, but it wasn’t super cringey? It was all ridiculous. Like if you are going to report it, report it. But it turned into something clickbaity and it wasn’t fair to the panel. We talked about a lot of different things on that panel. And, one of the funniest moments in the panel is when Ricky goes, “I thought this was going to be boring,” and I was like “me too.”
So, there were so many great things that happened, but this person cherry picked something so they could write an article. It didn’t show the panel in the full breadth of what it was about. It was, you wanted to write an article and get somebody canceled. So, if you are going to tell the news, tell the news.
Sloan: But if you are trying to tell tea, at least—cause it looks gossipy, you know?
Sloan: Tea is tea and all that, but, this tea was not well brewed, your water was dirty, like you brought me dollar store tea. How dare you. And I love a Dollar Store, but don’t bring cheap tea and dirty water. I get it, you have to earn a paycheck, but…
Paste: But it was just comedy that got taken out of the context that it was in?
Sloan: Almost like that. But it was just like, everything, if you saw the whole thing, because at one point there is a statement where he was like “ A lot of people laughed, some people groaned, but a lot of people laughed.” And I was like, “what are you doing? Who did you hear groan through the laughter?” I’m not trying to defend what he said in any form or fashion.
Paste: Of course not.
Sloan: But it was also, don’t try to create something that didn’t need to be created. In the moment, I stole microphones from people. It was like “you might want to shut up, sir”. But, it’s also, he’s been doing stand-up for so long, it’s like he’s just trying to push a line.
Sloan: I’m not trying to defend the man, but if that’s the way that we’re going, it was all, one-up, one-up, one-up, which seemed to be what was happening. If that’s how he genuinely feels, that’s how he genuinely feels. Like I said, I’m not having a struggle competition with an 85 year old white man. I’m not gonna do it. I mean, he was born during WWII, I’m not going to do that. And also, I don’t like how my name was used in it. At the end of it, it was like, “at the end Sloan and Cleese hugged,” and I was like, yeah, because we were fuckin’ around. Don’t make it sound like we had a “We are the World” moment, we came together and race relations have been fixed you corny fucker, no.
Paste: I hear you. When I read it, to be honest with you, because I wasn’t there, I did kind of wonder, if it was…
Sloan: It didn’t feel like what was happening was happening.
Paste: And that’s the beauty of a live event, where it is not recorded, is that you can do whatever and it should give you a little freedom to push back or whatever.
Sloan: Yeah, but I just saw that article and I was like “This is click baiting nonsense,” but if you are going to talk about a panel, talk about the panel. If you want to say these are things that were said, then talk about what was said. It was cherry picked for an article and it got picked up by a bunch of other people. And I’m like, my name is all in this, and I don’t have time for this because I didn’t do anything. Why am I in this? All I did was come on the panel and I thought, in the words of Ricky Velez, “I thought this was going to be boring,” and it turned into the exact opposite.
Paste: At least it wasn’t boring!
Dulcé Sloan has a number of projects coming up. She will be reprising her role as Honeybee in Season 3 of The Great North and is back filming segments for The Daily Show.
Keri Lumm is a professional chatterbox who loves watching TV & movies, reading about pop culture, and gawking at any craziness on the internet. You can follow Keri on Twitter.