BuzzFeed was one of the first to report on the uncomfortable exchange between Steven J. Rickman of Atlanta’s Rock 100.5 Morning Show and actors Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm), Kate Mara (Sue Storm), and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm). While the initial video footage was taken down, it has since resurfaced online, showing the cringe-worthy back-and-forth.
“From what I’ve seen you’re brother and sister,” Rickman asks Jordan and Mara. “Am I missing something? … But you’re white and you’re black. How does that happen?”
Jordan, who previously addressed objections over his casting as Johnny Storm in an essay for EW, handled the question tactfully. “They could be raised as brother and sister,” he said. “There’s a whole bunch of family dynamics that could be without the ‘obvious adoption.’”
Rickman then turned his attention to Mara, and her hair. “You’re way, way hot,” he remarked. “Why’d you cut the hair? Your hair was beautiful.”
“This is a great interview,” Mara responded, before saying she cut her hair for another movie she filmed. “They asked me to. I’m an actress. I have to be a chameleon.” And things got weirder from there with some talk about toes.
The radio station took down an earlier tweet sharing behind-the-scenes footage from the interview, while Rickman tweeted this was the “3rd most awkward moment” in his life. In an email to BuzzFeed, Rock 100.5 Morning Show host Jason Bailey defended Rickman when asked if the line of questioning was meant to be incendiary.
“Absolutely not! That’s not mine or the show’s thing,” he wrote. “Look, not a huge fan of these controlled 5-7 minute interview junkets they run in the first place but I was curious about the brother and sister thing. You have a white sister and black brother wouldn’t you want to know how that happened? I did. The other Fantastic Four franchises explain the relationship so I figured with this new hipster version they’d have some different backstory.”
He continued, “My partner’s (Southside Steve) conversation about Kate’s hair is something that came up while Michael B Jordan took a phone call so I think they were kind of just going back forth in a playful way. As for him complimenting her toes and why people are upset about that…sorry…no idea. Steve likes girl’s toes. People should be appreciative when they get complimented. Those that are upset on Twitter I guess don’t get enough of them. Who knows?”