Musicians are, by and large, not the most politically savvy crew. We know that, so we cut them slack. But even by those loosened standards, Macklemore crossed the stupid/anti-Semitic line over the weekend when he donned a huge nose and fake beard and wig – approximating age-old Jew-hating stereotypes – to sing his overrated hit song “Thrift Shop.”
Macklemore claimed ignorance, of course, releasing this statement:
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.
Well, that’s the end of that, apparently – mainly because Macklemore is a hard-core leftist who pushes “Same Love” (and hatred of religious Christians) rather than a country star who pushes churchgoing.
But Macklemore isn’t the only artist who has gotten off the hook for offensive stereotyping thanks to his politics. Here are the top six who have gotten away with it – and one who didn’t:
John Mayer. In 2010, John Mayer did an interview with Playboy in which he explained why “black people love me.” He was asked, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” His answer: “It’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a n***** pass.” He also said that same year, “My d*** is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f***in’ David Duke c***.” He apologized and stated that he had accidentally entered the world of “selfishness and greediness and arrogance….It’s just not worth being clever.” No biggie. He was most recently dating Katy Perry – after dating Taylor Swift.
Madonna. In 2014, Madonna tweeted out a picture of her son, Rocco Ritchie, using the hashtag #disn*****. She then released an apology: “I am sorry if I offended anyone with my use of the N word on Instagram. It was not meant as a racial slur. I am not a racist. There’s no way to defend the use of the word. It was all about intention. It was used as a term of endearment toward my son who is white. I appreciate that it’s a provocative word and I apologize if it gave people the wrong impression.” No problem. The Material Girl is doing just fine.
Kanye West. In November, Kanye did an interview in which he explained that President Obama had an inherent political disadvantage because “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people….We ain’t Jewish. We don’t got family that got money like that. The rappers became the new family.” But don’t worry. Kanye is doing just fine – if you consider being married to Kim Kardashian fine.
Questlove. Last year, the singer mocked Japanese people in a Facebook post – asking, “is it racist for me to write the Soul Tlain? #cnipanesedownunder2013,” and then a picture of a local Asian woman with caption, “Ladies and gentlemen, they are talking in tongues.” He then apologized after bashing Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. He’s still on Jimmy Fallon.
Virtually Every Rapper Ever. Whether it’s Eminem (“Blacks and whites they sometimes mix / but black girls only want your money cause they’re dumb chicks”), Scarface (hip-hop, he said, was “an industry that is so f***ing white and so f***ing Jewish), Gunplay (who retweeted a joke about Hitler’s gas bill), Malice (Jews are “tightwads”), Ghostface Killah (who raps about “doing business with Jews”), Mos Def (who complains about a “tall Israeli running this rap s***”), Jay-Z (Five Percenter), or Ludacris (“Hillary hated on you, so that b**** is irrelevant…McCain don’t belong in ANY chair unless he’s paralyzed / Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped….paint the White House black”), rappers can get away with anything.
And one who hasn’t gotten over it, even if his particular comment wasn’t racist but just foolish and offensive:
Hank Williams, Jr. After Williams Jr. labeled Barack Obama playing golf with Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) akin to “Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu,” ESPN pulled Williams Jr.’s opening song from “Monday Night Football.”
There just might be a pattern here. Some racism is more equal than others.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.