Donald Glover Recalls Racist Insults from Chevy Chase on 'Community' Set

Tina Fey adds she employed Glover on '30 Rock' as a diversity hire
Donald Glover Recalls Racist Insults from Chevy Chase on 'Community' Set
Donald Glover is a true renaissance man, possessing a ridiculous amount of talent spread throughout the mediums of music, acting, writing, directing and standup comedy. This week, his beloved FX series Atlanta will return for a second season, and a new New Yorker profile has detailed the long, arduous journey that Glover's career has taken. Specifically, it illuminates the alleged racism Glover experienced from his former Community co-star Chevy Chase.

In 2012, Chevy Chase issued a formal apology after allegedly uttering the N-word on set. Though he suggested his use of the word was "in character," it was enough to halt production on the show. According to the New Yorker profile, however, Chase's racist commentary was routine on the show.

"People think you're funnier because you're black," Chase allegedly said to Glover while they were shooting Community. Dan Harmon, the show's divisive creator, added that he once had to apologize to Glover for Chase's behaviour. 

"Chevy was the first to realize how immensely gifted Donald was, and the way he expressed his jealousy was to try to throw Donald off," Harmon said. "I remember apologizing to Donald after a particularly rough night of Chevy's non-P.C. verbiage, and Donald said, 'I don't even worry about it.'"

Glover added he could tell Chase's actions were the result of his own insecurities. 

"I just saw Chevy as fighting time — a true artist has to be okay with his reign being over," Glover said. "I can't help him if he's thrashing in the water. But I know there's a human in there somewhere — he's almost too human."
Responding to the story, Chase said, "I am saddened to hear that Donald perceived me in that light."

The lengthy piece includes plenty of discussion about race. At one point, Glover questions whether or not he got his first job — a writing gig on 30 Rock — because of his skin colour. "I wondered, Am I being hired just because I'm black?" he recalled.

Tina Fey, the show's creator and star, confirmed to the New Yorker that Glover's suspicions were correct. Though she admired his talents, she added that NBC's Diversity Initiative fund "made him free" to hire.

Read the full Donald Glover profile here.

Season 2 of Atlanta begins March 1 on FX.