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Michael Richards, 'Kramer', Hires Crisis Expert

First he went on national television to apologize for his racial tirade against two black hecklers. Now Michael Richards is taking his contriteness to the next level: he's hired a public relations expert with deep contacts in the black community.

New York publicist Howard Rubenstein took on Richards as a client after being contacted by the actor-comedian. He then arranged for Richards to call the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

"Michael apologized profusely. He wants to heal the tremendous wound that he's inflicted on the American public, and on the African-American community," Rubenstein said.

Jackson, reached by phone, said Richards called "expressing his remorse and his confusion. He's embarrassed. He got caught on tape. That's a big part of his anxiety now," said Jackson.

"Clearly he needs some race sensibility training, and some psychiatric help. His anger is volatile and dangerous to himself and others," Jackson said. "I hope he gets the help he needs. But the culture that's producing this kind of animosity toward blacks must be addressed. ... We're increasingly facing cultural isolation in Hollywood, in the movies and in TV."

Jackson added, "We have to evaluate the use of the n-word and categorize it as hate speech, no matter who uses it."

Richards, who played the kooky neighbor Kramer on the TV show "Seinfeld," lashed out at the hecklers last week during a performance at West Hollywood's Laugh Factory.

In a subsequent satellite appearance on David Letterman's "Late Show," Richards said his remarks were fueled by anger, not bigotry.

As for reports that Richards shouted out anti-Semitic remarks during another standup comedy routine in April, Rubenstein confirmed Richards did, but that he was only role-playing.

"He's Jewish. He's not anti-Semitic at all. He was role-playing, he was playing a part. He did use inappropriate language, but he doesn't have any anti-Semitic feelings whatsoever," Rubenstein said.

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