Sam Rubin's bad day with Samuel L. Jackson (videos)

KTLA screen grab

KTLA morning co-anchor Sam Rubin, a veteran entertainment reporter, was interviewing the actor Samuel L. Jackson live this morning and it felt to me like it was going a little roughly. Jackson was in Atlanta, Rubin on set here, and even when they were talking about Jackson's latest movie project, "RoboCop," it seemed like the two were not really synched. Then Rubin asked whether Jackson had gotten a lot of reaction "to that Super Bowl commercial?” Jackson looked stunned. He shot back: “What Super Bowl commercial?” Then it was Rubin's turn to looked stunned. He looked around the set and began to verbally step back from the gaffe. Jackson said, “You’re as crazy as the people on Twitter. I’m not Laurence Fishburne.” (Who apparently did do a prominent Super Bowl commercial, while Jackson did not.) The other KTLA talent tried to make light of the mistake and discharge the tension, but Jackson was clearly peeved. He shook his head: "You're the entertainment reporter for this station? And you don't know the difference between me and Laurence Fishburne?" Rubin was apologizing the whole time, saying of course he knew the difference, but Jackson was having none of it. "There must be a very short line for your job out there...." This went on a couple of minutes before both parties got back to the reason they were talking at all — to promote "RoboCop."

A half hour later, Rubin made a televised apology for what he called "a very amateur mistake." This clips starts with the apology then re-runs the earlier interview.

We start right now with the beauty and the occasional pain of live television. First and foremost, I do know who Samuel L. Jackson is. I’ve interviewed him several times over the years, but never quite like the conversation we just had.

I indicated to Samuel that I’d seen him during the Super Bowl, and he thought that I had confused him with the commercial Laurence Fishburne had done for a car company. Of course a “Captain America” ad had also run during the Super Bowl, but I immediately felt so dumb, I didn’t bring that up — and he gave me the shellacking that was well deserved.

I pride myself on the fact — that unlike a lot of people who do this kind of work — more often than not, I really do know what I’m talking about. But I didn’t 30 minutes ago, and I’m really embarrassed about it, and I very much apologize to Samuel L. Jackson and anyone else who was offended for what was a very amateur mistake.

That all went down before 9 a.m. this morning. The rest of the day, Rubin has been taking a beating on social media and in media outlets that have been enjoying re-running the clip. TMZ also has been milking it, and I'd say not exactly honorably. "This is the MOST PAINFUL interview we've ever watched...and Sam Jackson completely lost it," TMZ's reporter said. Let's be charitable and say that's exaggerating a bit on both counts. But then Rubin engaged with TMZ on the web, adding to his bad day. You can watch that here:

Rubin tweeted just before noon:

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Television stories on LA Observed:
'SoCal Connected' gets new KCET season and exec producer
Cecilia Alvear, 77, trail blazing NBC News producer
Robert Osborne, 84, host on Turner Classic Movies
Midweek notes: Xavier Becerra, Jeff Michael, P-45 and more
Tony Valdez retires from Fox 11 news, last of a generation
Gwen Ifill, Washington journalist, 61
Vin Scully tribute to air live across SoCal
KTLA will air Vin Scully's final six games


LA Observed on Twitter