When Macklemore showed up for a surprise appearance at the EMP Museum on Friday night, he was wearing a disguise. But there was no hiding later in the weekend, when a social-media storm broke out over the nature of the Seattle rapper’s costume.
A number of bloggers and Twitter users labeled Macklemore’s black wig, black beard and fake nose anti-Semitic.
Actor Seth Rogen fanned the tempest Sunday by tweeting, “.@Macklemore first you trick people into thinking you’re a rapper, now you trick them into thinking you’re Jewish?”
Later, Macklemore responded to critics on his own Twitter stream, writing, “A fake witches [sic] nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.”
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Around noon Monday, Rogen answered, “really?? Because if I told someone to put together an anti Semitic Jew costume, they’d have that exact shopping list.”
Macklemore posted an apology on his website (http://seati.ms/1h2rPhj) Monday night, explaining that he chose the costume pieces at random, without any intention to portray a certain 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,” he wrote.
“… 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 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.”
The performance at EMP celebrated the opening of a new exhibit, “Spectacle: The Music Video,” which includes memorabilia from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ breakout video, “Thrift Shop.”
Attendees at the party were encouraged to come in costume.
The group played two songs: “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” the latter of which won Top Rap Song at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night.
By Monday, opinions on Macklemore’s get-up were dropping by the dozens every minute on Twitter. A sampling:
“Check out @macklemore performing ‘Thrift Shop’ as a stereotypical Jewish man. So much for same love, eh?” (posted by @idb1204)
“The fact people automatically think macklemore’s costume was of a Jewish guy just reinforces or own discriminations…” (@CoCoLynnyBert)
“#macklemore puts on a hat and a nose and he’s mocking jews. Yet nobody had a problem with him rapping and styling like an african american?” (@30daysnFebruary)
It’s not the first time that Macklemore has run into trouble on social media. In January, when he and Lewis won four Grammys, he apologized to rapper Kendrick Lamar via Instagram, saying, “You got robbed.” He was instantly accused of self-promotion at Lamar’s expense.
Lynn Jacobson: firstname.lastname@example.org