As did the ancients, Macklemore has taken to Tumblr to apologize for performing as a Jewish caricature during a show in Seattle last week. His argument essentially boils down to, “Remember how I support gay marriage? Let’s go back to that time.”
The rapper claims he wanted to arrive at Seattle’s EMP Museum, where he was performing, in disguise, so as not to ruin the surprise. So he claims that he picked up several items known as being reductive Jewish stereotypes at a costume shop, not once realizing what it was that he was doing.
“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.”
What he really looked like was Gargamel, from The Smurfs, a character who has come under fire multiple times for representing negative Jewish stereotypes.
However, now that the whole world has brought it to his attention, Macklemore guesses he can see how you’d find his costume offensive, if you were looking for that sort of thing. Macklemore doesn’t know, he doesn’t see the world like that.
“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.”
But, as it turns out, Macklemore’s Tumblr apology may not be completely honest, as evidence suggests he knew exactly what he was doing the day of the show. For instance, this tweet quotes a Bar Mitzvah joke that Macklemore made during the show:
— Lynn Jacobson (@lynnjacobson) May 17, 2014
Additionally, The Stranger’s Anna Minard took a trip to Macklemore’s local costume shop and found the nose he purchased.
It’s not, as Macklemore claimed, a witch’s nose, but a nose labeled “sheik/fagin nose.” For anyone not familiar, Fagin is the antagonist in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. The character, when not being referred to by his name, is called “merry old gentleman” or just the “Jew.”
So there you have it. Macklemore went to a costume shop, bought a stereotypically big “Jewish nose,” wore it to a concert and claimed to be surprised when Jews took offense. How’s that for “Same Love?”