Rapper Macklemore has issued a new statement about a stage costume many people say was anti-Semitic, saying he apologizes to anyone he may have offended and that it never crossed his mind that his outfit could be viewed as "Jewish stereotype."
The 30-year-old Grammy winner, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, had donned a thick, black, bowl-cut wig and beard, a large, crooked nose prosthetic and a black jacket while performing at a gig in Seattle on Friday. Although he wore no clothing or jewelry that would categorize the character as Jewish, such as a kippa, prayer shawl or a Star of David, many found his costume to be reminicent of caricatures found in anti-Jewish propaganda, including during the Nazi Holocaust.
On Sunday, actor Seth Rogen, who is Jewish, tweeted a photo he found of the rapper in costume (see below), saying: "First you trick people into thinking you're a rapper, now you trick them into thinking you're Jewish?"
"A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody," Macklemore said on on his own Twitter page that day.
".@macklemore really??" Rogen responded on Monday. "Because if I told someone to put together an anti Semitic Jew costume, they'd have that exact shopping list."
Macklemore then issued a 533-word statement on his Tumblr page, saying: " I truly apologize to anybody that I may have offended."
He said he thought it would be fun to show up at the gig "in diguise."
"As it turns out, the fake noses they sell at the costume store are usually big (my nose didn't fit most of them)," he said. "So I ended up with a big witch nose. I went with a black beard, because that's the furthest color from my natural hair. Disguise was the intention. I personally thought I looked very ambiguous in terms of any 'type' of person. Some people there thought I looked like Ringo, some Abe Lincoln. If anything I thought I looked like Humpty Hump with a bowl cut."
Macklemore said he "wasn't attempting to mimic any culture, nor resemble one" and that "a 'Jewish stereotype' never crossed my mind."
"My intention was to dress up and surprise the people at the show with a random costume and nothing more. Thus, 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)," he said. "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."
Anti-Defamation League's statement about Macklemore
In his Tumblr post, Macklemore also gave a shout-out to the Anti-Defamation League, a group that was founded in 1913 with the goal "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all."
"We welcome Macklemore's apology for wearing a costume that, regardless of his motives, reminded many people of an anti-Semitic caricature," said the group's national director, Abraham H. Foxman, who is also a Holocaust survivor. "We take him at his word that he did not have any ill-intent and unreservedly accept his apology."
"We know that Macklemore is someone who has used his platform in the past to stand up and speak out against intolerance and bigotry, particularly homophobia," he added. "With that in mind, we believe that this matter is little more than 'a tempest in a teapot' over an unfortunate choice of wardrobe."
In April 2013, a Twitter user asked Macklemore: "Are you Jewish or what," to which he responded: "Nah. Just got hella good Jewish homies."