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.”

“I learned a lot from watching this powerful video,” wrote Handler on her Instagram post, which she has since deleted, to her nearly 4 million followers.

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.”

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.