On Friday night, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed a secret show in Seattle to honor a new exhibit at the city's EMP Museum. The thing about this that actually makes it news is how Macklemore was dressed: in a fake beard, wig, and nose. Okay, even that wouldn't be particularly noteworthy except for the particulars of his choice of costume. Among many other negative reactions, Gawker described it as "a deeply racist caricature," "the stereotype of a greedy, hook-nosed Jewish man," and "like literal Nazi propaganda."
Social media virtually exploded with accusations of anti-Semitism for the Grammy Award winner, and after remaining quiet all weekend, Macklemore has posted an official response to the controversy.
Well, "official" in that he's tweeted about it. But let's back up to a few of the reactions to his costume:
— Ian de Borja (@idb1204) May 19, 2014
— Yehudah Schochet (@Schochster9) May 19, 2014
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) May 18, 2014
.@macklemore: dresses up in an anti-Semitic costume and performs a song about being cheap. Stand up guy.— Lloyd (@YoungRetti) May 19, 2014
@macklemore It makes complete sense to write songs about social injustice, then use Anti-Semitic hatred and cruel stereotypes on stage? Wtf— Eric Simcox (@ericsimcox) May 19, 2014
My personal feeling about the whole controversy is that I doubt Macklemore purposefully chose the outfit to evoke Jewish stereotypes. I mean, if for no other reason that being called out as a racist really sort of goes against his whole 'Same Love' branding, you know? But I do think he should have looked in the mirror at some point and thought, Oooh, you know, maybe not such a great idea. And I definitely feel like he could have posted a better response than this:
A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.— Macklemore (@macklemore) May 19, 2014
Yeah, I get the need to state that he didn't have bad intentions, but the higher road would have been an apology rather than a knee-jerk defense. Considering how many Jewish people were offended, this was a chance for him to say something more than 'Hey, it's not MY fault you thought it was racist.'
Also, in the follow-up articles that are slamming Macklemore, plenty of folks seem to be dredging up this old tweet as "proof" he's a bad person:
911...bush knocked down the towers— Macklemore (@macklemore) September 18, 2009
Except that post was a reference to a 2005 hip-hop track. So we probably shouldn't take out-of-context tweets as evidence that Macklemore's a deranged truther that hates Jews ... at least not yet.
What's your take, do you think Macklemore's costume was offensive? Do you think he meant it to be?
Image via Twitter