I think it's interesting that you're attempting to excuse the behavior of somebody who has already admitted that it was inexcusable.
I think I've already indicated three times now that I'm not trying to excuse his behaviour. At most, I'm saying I don't hate him.
As far as I'm concerned, this is not different than Mel Gibson shooting off at the mouth about his anti-semitism while drunk.
I think that's definitely a possibility, but I'm by no means as certain. There are a lot of differing factors here--Ellison was probably trying to make people laugh, and comedy is often accomplished by doing what everyone knows is dead wrong. Again, I'm not trying to excuse his behaviour. It was a bad idea, if that was the case. There's also the fact that Gibson had to know that what he was saying was hurtful, while I'm stilling willing to believe Ellison was being stupid, and wasn't necessarily aware at the time that what he was doing was going to hurt anyone.