Macklemore Defends Himself Against Accusations Of Being Anti-Semitic After Wearing Offensive Costume At Concert
Macklemore, the front man of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and the rapper behind “Thrift Shop,” was accused of performing in an anti-Semitic costume on Friday.
Macklemore: Accused Of Being Anti-Semitic
Friday, May 16, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis surprised fans at the EMP Museum in Seattle with a short concert, but the unannounced show wasn’t what had everybody talking the next few days. Instead, it was Macklemore’s strange costume, resembling caricature-like Jewish stereotypes.
Wearing a huge fake hook nose, a fake thick beard and a heavy black wig with a silky button down shirt and a black suit jacket, Macklemore certainly looked like he was dressing up to resemble the hateful caricatures of Jewish men.
Seth Rogen Calls Out Macklemore
The costume raised many eyebrows and caused wide spread outrage after Seth Rogen tweeted about it on Sunday, writing in a message to Macklemore, “first you trick people into thinking you’re a rapper, now you trick them into thinking you’re Jewish?”
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) May 18, 2014
On Monday, Macklemore responded to the criticism and accusations of anti-Semitism on Twitter, explaining that he had not intended his costume to be a stereotype, but that “A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume.”
A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.
— Macklemore (@macklemore) May 19, 2014
Many, including Rogen, were less than impressed with Macklemore’s attempt to sweep the matter under the rug, responding, “really?? Because if I told someone to put together an anti Semitic Jew costume, they’d have that exact shopping list.”
.@macklemore really?? Because if I told someone to put together an anti Semitic Jew costume, they'd have that exact shopping list.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) May 19, 2014
Macklemore Defends Himself, Apologizes
Later on Monday, Macklemore posted a more comprehensive statement on his offensive costume choice on his official website.
Macklemore defended himself against allegations of being anti-Semitic, writing that he has been “misunderstood” and had not even thought that his costume might be considered offensive.
“On Friday night we had a surprise show at the EMP Museum in Seattle. Earlier in the day I thought it would be fun to dress up in disguise and go incognito to the event, so that I could walk around unnoticed and surprise the crowd with a short performance,” Macklemore explained in his statement.
Macklemore went on to say that he had not meant to resemble any particular person, writing, “Disguise was the intention. I personally thought I looked very ambiguous in terms of any ‘type’ of person.”
In his statement, the rapper added that his friends thought he looked like Ringo or Abraham Lincoln, but nobody mentioned concern over possibly looking anti-Semitic.
Though Macklemore’s statement was, overall, apologetic, he also expressed frustration at the media and the public for jumping to the conclusion that he meant to criticize or make fun of Jewish people, writing, “it was surprising and disappointing that the images of a disguise were sensationalized leading to the immediate assertion that my costume was anti-Semetic [sic]. I acknowledge how the costume could, within a context of stereotyping, be ascribed to a Jewish caricature. I am here to say that it was absolutely not my intention, and unfortunately at the time I did not foresee the costume to be viewed in such regard. I’m saddened that this story, or any of my choices, would lead to any for of negativity.”
Macklemore further defended himself, citing his track record for standing up for the under-represented and fighting for equal rights. (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are also known for their hit single promoting marriage equality, “Same Love.”) Finally, Macklemore concluded his statement with a straightforward apology, saying simply, “I truly apologize to anybody that I may have offended. I hope this better explains the situation and my point of view.”
In a post script, Macklemore directed readers to the Anti-Defamation League website (ADL) that works to end discrimination and hate, with a focus on Anti-Semitism. The group released a statement accepting Macklemore’s apology.
“We welcome Macklemore’s apology for wearing a costume that, regardless of his motives, reminded many people of an anti-Semitic caricature. We take him at his word that he did not have any ill-intent and unreservedly accept his apology,” said ADL National Director Abraham H Foxman.
Despite his apology, Macklemore's costume continues to be a hot topic on Twitter.
Why is Macklemore dressed up like Seth Rogen?
— Joshua Malina (@JoshMalina) May 19, 2014
Macklemore should be ashamed of himself but not as much as the people who paid to see Macklemore
— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) May 19, 2014
What makes Macklemore's anti-Semitic costume even crazier is that his biggest song is about saving money.
— Jensen Karp (@JensenClan88) May 18, 2014
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