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Macklemore Apologizes For ‘Anti-Semitic’ Costume

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Janette Pellegrini/Getty Images)

Janette Pellegrini/Getty Images)

By Shannon Carlin

After being criticized for wearing an offensive costume onstage in Seattle last Friday (May 16), Macklemore has apologized in a lengthy letter via his website, stating he never meant to dress like a “Jewish stereotype.”

Macklemore wore a large witch nose and a black wig and beard while rapping his song “Thrift Shop” at the opening of a music video-centric exhibit at Seattle’s EMP Museum and reportedly told the crowd he found his getup after he “went to Costume Display,” before adding that he felt “like a man for the first time today.”

Related: Frequently Asked Questions: Why Do People Hate Macklemore? 

Initially after his was costume was called anti-semitic by fans and even comedian Seth Rogen, who is Jewish, Macklemore tweeted, “A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.”

But now he has come out with a full statement apologizing for the getup, which many found insensitive, stating that the costume was just his way of surprising fans and that he thought he looked more like “Humpty Hump with a bowl cut.”

“The character I dressed up as had no intended cultural identity or background. I wasn’t attempting to mimic any culture, nor resemble one,” he wrote. “A ‘Jewish stereotype’ never crossed my mind.

Macklemore goes on to apologize “to anybody that I may have offended,” noting, “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].”

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The “Same Love” singer ends his note by stating that he hopes fans will take his past work into account before jumping to conclusions: “I would never intentionally put down anybody for the fabric that makes them who they are. I love human beings, love originality, and… happen to love a weird outfit from time to time.”

This isn’t the first time Macklemore has been accused of being insensitive. Earlier this year, he was criticized after seemingly homophobic tweets from 2009 surfaced.

Read Macklemore’s full statement below.

Family, friends and fans alike who know me well, know that I’m absolutely not the person described in certain headlines today. There is no worse feeling than being misunderstood, especially when people are hurt or offended.

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 a disguise and go incognito to the event, so that I could walk around unnoticed and surprise the crowd with a short performance.  I picked up a bunch of fake mustaches and beards and grabbed a left over wig from our recent trip to Japan.

As it turns out the fake noses they sell at the costume store are usually big (my nose didn’t fit most of them).  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.

We showed up to the event, I hit the stage in the outfit, rocked two songs, took pictures and went home.  We had a great time and it was fun to be a surprise guest in a costume.  I’ve always loved dressing up and have been doing so my entire career. The character I dressed up as on Friday had no intended cultural identity or background.  I wasn’t attempting to mimic any culture, nor resemble one.  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. 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 form of negativity.

I will let my body of work and the causes for which I’ve supported speak for themselves. I hope that anyone who may question my intent take a few moments to discover the human and artist that I strive to be. I respect all cultures and all people.  I would never intentionally put down anybody for the fabric that makes them who they are. I love human beings, love originality, and… happen to love a weird outfit from time to time.

I truly apologize to anybody that I may have offended. I hope this better explains the situation and my point of view.

With love,

Ben

PS – Out of a negative can come a positive. Through this situation I’ve got hip to some incredible groups like the ADL and I encourage people to check the great work they, and others like them, do: http://www.adl.org

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