Macklemore apologises for 'anti-Semitic Jew costume' as Seth Rogen hits out on Twitter

The 'Thrift Shop' rapper's on-stage fancy dress sparked outrage last week

Jess Denham
Wednesday 21 May 2014 09:35
Rapper Macklemore on stage in a fancy dress costume described by critics as 'anti-Semitic'
Rapper Macklemore on stage in a fancy dress costume described by critics as 'anti-Semitic'

Macklemore has denied accusations of anti-Semitism after donning offensive fancy dress for a surprise Seattle gig last Friday.

The US rapper issued an apology on his website late last night, insisting that he did not intend to insult Jewish people with his “disguise” – a black suit, wig, beard and large plastic nose.

Guests had been advised to dress as their favourite music icon but fans attending the show sparked outrage when they posted photographs from the event online.

Macklemore’s outfit seemed to mock Hasidic Jewish culture, despite the “Thrift Shop” star responding to critics on Twitter: “A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.”

Not everyone was convinced by his explanation, however, with Jewish actor Seth Rogen arguing that if someone “wanted to put together an anti-Semitic Jew costume, they’d have that exact shopping list”.

Macklemore, real name Ben Haggerty, then released the following statement in defence: “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.”

He continued to explain how he had “picked up a bunch of fake mustaches and beards and grabbed a left-over wig from a recent trip to Japan” to walk around “incognito”, noting that some people had thought he looked like Ringo Starr or Abraham Lincoln.

Macklemore donned fancy dress costume for a Seattle gig

“I wasn’t attempting to mimic any culture, nor resemble one,” he wrote. “A ‘Jewish stereotype’ never crossed my mind. 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.

“I love human beings, love originality and happen to love a weird outfit from time to time.”

Macklemore’s controversial stage antics were praised earlier this year when he performed “Same Love” with Ryan Lewis as gay couples married live at the Grammys.

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Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were named the most successful UK songwriters of 2013 with sales close to 1.6 million. The duo's 2012 album, The Heist, has achieved a gold sales certificate in the UK.