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Popular German entertainer allegedly made racial slurs against U.S. worker

February 11, 1997

BERLIN (AP) _ Berlin authorities said Monday they are looking into allegations that one of Germany’s most popular entertainers made racial insults toward a black hotel employee in California.

The newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported that actor Harald Juhnke told a security guard last week at Hollywood’s Mondrian Hotel: ``You filthy nigger. Hitler was right. The likes of you should have been gassed before.″

The 67-year-old Juhnke has a huge following in Germany, but his image has been badly damaged by his reportedly drunken and hostile behavior during the hotel visit.

Three German television stations said Monday they are suspending all projects with Juhnke. A number of German politicians said his behavior was inexcusable; one called for a boycott of Juhnke.

At the hotel on Feb. 2, according to Bild am Sonntag, a drunken Juhnke harassed customers at the bar, swore at a waitress, was thrown out of the bar and a chased a woman through the lobby. Hotel security guard Robert Ferrell grabbed Juhnke to keep him from shoving the woman, the paper said.

``When Juhnke noticed that Ferrell was black, he completely lost control″ and made the racist insult, the newspaper said.

Ruediger Reiff, spokeswoman for the Berlin prosecutor’s office, said prosecutors are examining the accusations.

Juhnke, now in the Dominican Republic, faxed a letter to a Berlin newspaper saying he does not remember much because he was drunk.

``Whoever knows me, knows I am anything but a racist. If I have injured someone’s honor, I ask for forgiveness with deepest regret,″ Juhnke wrote.

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