Kevin O’Leary, Cast Member on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ Calls Black Women ‘Colorful Cockroaches’ (Watch & Respond)

Kevin O'Leary, "Shark Tank" on ABC
Kevin O’Leary, “Shark Tank” on ABC

*Though most of the cast members on this show seem pompous as hell to me, one in particular sticks out in this story; as he obviously has no problem saying whatever comes to mind, no matter how inappropriate.

“Success” has apparently gone to the head of one Kevin O’Leary.

As it turns out the “shark” on ABC’s “Shark Tank” feels he is big, bad & bold enough to go unfiltered in his comments; as he demonstrated by calling two African American women entrepreneurs who came on the show to present their lipstick business “colorful cockroaches.”


In the event you are unaware of “Shark Tank,” it’s a reality show on ABC where entrepreneurs are allowed to come on and do a live presentation of their business idea, concept, or product, in front of successful business owners, with the possibility of being funded.

The two young women came on the show to present their lip stick business, and while much of the show is built around laughs, I don’t believe cruelty was a part of the original template.

Though we'd like to think advice from these professionals is simply that, and nothing 'personal' this instance I believe the African American businessman should have found a professional way to correct O'Leary.
Though we’d like to think advice from these professionals is simply that, and nothing ‘personal’…in this instance I believe the African American businessman should have found a professional way to correct O’Leary.

The video (scroll down) shows season 6, episode 109 in full. But the women’s presentation begins at the 13:05 mark. O’Leary’s comment to the young women word for word was.

“If anybody thought you could sell purple or green lipstick they’d do it. They already have the shelf space; they’d just add another color and they would crush you (and he emphasized those words) like the colorful cockroaches you are.”

One "shark Tank" judge told the woman on the right if she stepped into a business wearing that lipstick they would think she was dead.

O’Leary also posed this ignorant question to the woman on the right: “Aren’t you afraid that if you walked into a bar with that color on your lip someone might try to resuscitate you?”

I tell you, you can dress anybody up in a suit, but at some point they are going to revert back to that pair of dirty jeans.

Kudos to these young women who remained poised and professional in spite of the being in the presence of a faux-professional; someone who was supposed to provide you advice to help you move forward…whether or not it was with his contribution.

Thanks to our friends at Naturally Moi for the heads up on this.

By now, unless this is your first go ’round reading ThisNthat, you know I don’t just say something and end it there. I come from the old school of taking action and I believe this man owes these two women a PUBLIC APOLOGY. The air date of the show was February 6, 2015 and I am surprised hell wasn’t raised on the internet about the issue. But hey, I could be wrong. And I commend Naturally Moi for writing about it.

Now its your turn readers. The quickest way to get your feelings known is by going to this site and filling out the short form that allows you to speak your mind. Something of this magnitude is usually forwarded to the legal department, so don’t think your words won’t be taken seriously. I am sure if they get enough comments and enough people write in (and if you watch the video and agree with what was said in this article, you should) an apology will be issued.

We understand how business works, it’s being unprofessional – especially on a show with such a wide platform – that we have problems with. And for their sake, I hope they don’t attempt to pull the you’re being “oversensitive” card. When it comes to something like this, we know the difference.

There was no reason at all for O’Leary to refer to these two women using that term. Period. In my opinion, it was outright racist and irresponsible!

And shame on ABC if he was not reprimanded.

Readers: Hit them where it hurts. Make your feelings known today!

16 thoughts on “Kevin O’Leary, Cast Member on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ Calls Black Women ‘Colorful Cockroaches’ (Watch & Respond)”

  1. I’m sorry but I just have to speak up. There are actual situations of racism in this world but fortunately this isn’t one of them. Kevin IS NOT a racist. Kevin calls EVERYONE including THE OTHER SHARKS a cockroach. Is it a term of endearment, no. Is it racist? absolutely not. I don’t support this.

  2. Meaning, I don’t support you defaming his character by trying to make him a racist when he isn’t.

  3. I agree with “ABlackWoman”. I am a black woman who watches the show religiously. I even use it in the Entrepreneurship classes that I teach. This is a case of a comment being taken out of context. As soon as he made the remark, I knew it would be misinterpreted. Kevin calls many people cockroaches. He used colorful, because they were promoting and wearing very bright lipstick and very bright colorful clothing. Please do more research before you post stories like this.

  4. @JB…”Research” doesn’t make calling people ‘cockroaches’ acceptable dear. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but that doesn’t make you a trained journalist. In this particular case, it just makes you one of many who accept being referred to as one of the nastiest animals on the planet.

  5. Just because you make a post and name yourself a black woman doesn’t make you any more qualified to speak on this matter than anyone else. The comment was very insensitive and he should make an apology. Whether he thinks this is a good decision or not. Ppl line up to buy things I think are absurd every day. You never know what may sell.

  6. First and foremost there is never a reason to talk down to anyone having a go at being successful and even worse trying to kick them with jabs of undercut racism , to the Uncle tom ABLACKWOMAN i need you to check yourself and honsetly think would you allow ANYONE to speak to you or your daughter in that way?!?!?! I think not he needs his teeth kicked in and attitude adjusted the hard way!

  7. Ablackwoman is correct, sorry. Kevin calls everybody a cockroach. You just happened to see the episode where two black women wasted his time and got called cockroaches. I don’t understand the racial aspect of his comment, unless of course you think that all black people have roaches in their houses, or maybe because some roaches are brown……hmmmm. I’m black and have been for 51 years. Don’t have roaches. So that’s not true. I’ve just never heard the word cockroach used racially. Does that mean I’m an Uncle Tom? Oh my! Kevin is probably prejudiced like most of us, especially if your trying to borrow money from him, but racist? Nah. I don’t think he believes his race is genuinely better than ours. He’s just a rich asshole who lives for the day he can put someone in their place and this show gives him that opportunity. Maybe we’re wrong but I don’t think so. Everything supposedly negative that happens to black people isn’t racially related. If he would have gave them their money you wouldn’t have said anything. Matter of fact you don’t even watch the show you just heard about this incident through the grapevine. I betcha when they get there business right they’ll be right back on the show trying to get backing.

  8. This is a slap in the face amog black e entrepreneurs that appear on the show and its not the first time hehas done it. Something needs to be done to the way they treat our kind on that show!

  9. Mr. O’Leary is just a asshole period. Whether he is a racist or not still doesn’t give him the social right to disrespect these young ladies for trying to make a buck in a capitalist society. Just because you have more capitalist pieces of green paper than others doesn’t mean you can disrespect people for no reason. I personally would have cursed his Dumbo clown half head ass out and probably get edited of the episode. in Bill Gates 11 rules for life speech, Bill said ” be nice to nerds, chances are you will end up working for one” keep pounding sister’s its your dream, not Mr. O’Leary ‘s F^$K Him !!!!

  10. User ABLACKWOMAN is a female version of an Uncle Tom why of course it’s okay in your book! Why you’d do anything to be AWHITEWOMAN. You’re seriously ignorant

  11. The “cock roach” remark has resurfaced on Facebook and I have not heard of this until just now. I don’t watch Shark Tank because of the arrogance of the Sharks. They seem to enjoy being sarcastic more than they sincerely want to help anyone.

    But Kevin O’Leary’s comment was uncalled for. He may be rich but he is completely di void ofclass. He sounded like an ignorant racist.

    What does he sell? I want to be sure not to patronize whatever he hocks for a living.

  12. Watching shark tank and a women with a dream of a clothing line has to be ridiculed about her past by Kevin oleary because she had problems in her life before and at least robert the only one speaks up and says he’s out of line liked the show but have watched the last episode no one needs to be treated the way this man treats people needs to change his name from mister wonderful to Mr ass hole

  13. Come on guys don’t u get it? Women are never satisfied! They don’t want to be called bitches&whores.they are comfortable when you refer to them as cockroaches 😊

  14. O’ Leary makes me sick. Those black women should have thrown a holy hell fit RIGHT THERE on-air right up in O’Leary’s sneering, ugly face. I could care less that he “always calls people cockroaches.” What??!!?? That’s most certainly NOT a justification, people! This should have been the one time that someone had stood up to him and demanded respect. O’Leary can take the next train right back to Canada, get off, and jump into Lake Ottawa for all I care. Get out of this country, bigot.

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