(June 24, 2020 / JNS) Following days of backlash, comedian Chelsea Handler defended, but then apologized, on Monday for sharing on her Instagram page last week a video that she called “powerful,” featuring National of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has an extensive history of making anti-Jewish remarks.
The video shows Farrakhan taking questions from the audience during an appearance in 1990 on “The Phil Donahue Show.”
On The Daily Beast’s “The Last Laugh” podcast, Handler doubled-down on her June 14 post.
“I thought his message was really powerful,” said Handler. “I wasn’t thinking about the anti-Semitic thing, but I don’t want to take down the post because I felt the message was powerful, and a lot of people did.”
“It was powerful for me the way he spelled it out,” she continued. “That Black people don’t have a history of killing white people. White people have a history of killing Black people, for hundreds of years. Over and over again, we kill Black people in this country. So everyone needs to remember where the violence came from. It’s not from the Black people, it’s from the white people. So I thought it was powerful. So whatever, you know, everybody can go f*** themselves.”
However, after the podcast taping, Handler emailed a statement to The Daily Beast, apologizing for the Instagram post, which she then deleted.
“I want to sincerely apologize for posting the video of Louis Farrakhan,” she said. “I didn’t consider the context of his Anti-Semitic and homophobic rhetoric, that is of course contrary to my own beliefs and values. Part of the process of educating ourselves during this pivotal time is recognizing and working through our mistakes. This was definitely one of mine. I was wrong. It was offensive, and I apologize.”
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