Macklemore did a show in his hometown of Seattle on Friday, at the opening of the “Spectacle: The Music Video” exhibit at the EMP Museum, and for some mind-fuckingly inexplicable reason, decided to perform in a cobbled-together costume that left him looking like nothing so much as a Jewish man as seen through the eyes of a Third Reich propaganda cartoonist. (That’s Mack in the photo above, courtesy of Ian de Borja via Twitter.) As you might imagine, reactions (on Twitter, anyway) ranged from apathy to bewilderment to rage.

Earlier today, Macklemore responded to the controversy by saying it was nothing more than a “random costume”:

I’m inclined to take the guy at his word here, if only because it’s impossible to imagine anyone — especially a mainstream entertainer — could be so blatantly insensitive on purpose. It’s probably similar to what happened that time Elaine’s fountain pen exploded and she got ink all over Mr. Pitt’s upper lip and lapels just before he had to give that speech to the board of directors at Moland Spring. Still, though. Next time just go with a Scream mask, dude!

Comments (47)
  1. More like Shekelmore

  2. “I’m inclined to take the guy at his word here, if only because it’s impossible to imagine anyone — especially a mainstream entertainer — could be so blatantly insensitive on purpose.”


  3. ‘eyes taped back, fake teeth, kimono = random costume’

  4. maybe it was all just a tribute to humpty hump?

  5. Should have gone with Tony Clifton

  6. That was just a subtle Beastie Boys tribute.

  7. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Not one of my more successful jokes. Maybe this one’s a grower? Let it marinate awhile and we might remember it as one of the more underrated jokes released in this thread.

      (And, to be clear, I don’t think Macklemore is an anti-semite. I do, however, think he is generally terrible.)

  8. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Yes, people are pathetic for thinking it is bad to depict an entire cultural group as conforming to a handful of stereotypes that have been used to justify the mass extermination of said group in the past. Get a life, you pathetic jerks who think that putting a modicum of effort into not offending an entire ethnoreligious group is more important than Macklemore’s feelings!

      • What andrewk106 meant is that there are people who will immediately and publicly calling someone out as a racist before they have all the facts. In this case, there’s a chance that Macklemore’s costume was actually just a random combination of stuff and not a racist stereotype.

        I was a Japanese minor in college and a member of our school’s East-West Club. At one of our meetings, I was talking to two Asian-American girls, one of whom introduced herself as Sakura. I asked, “Oh, are you Japanese?” Before she could answer, her friend goes on the following rant, “Oh my god, seriously?! Really?! What, just because she’s Asian and in the East-West Club automatically means she’s Japanese?! There are other kinds of Asians besides Japanese, you know! God!” After she finished, I said, “Her first name is Japanese. It means ‘cherry blossom.’ That’s why I asked.” Sakura, completely embarrassed by her friend, adds, “Yeah…I’m actually Thai, but my parents were really into Japanese culture in the ’80s…so yeah.” We both looked at her friend, who had a priceless wow-I-guess-that-was-totally-uncalled-for-and-I’m-an-idiot expression on her face…didn’t apologize though.

        I admit that it looks bad, but I would give him the benefit of the doubt just in case.

        inb4 “So you’re equating being falsely accused of racism with being a target of racism?” No.

      • *call

        Fuck my life.

    • It’s most likely that 99% of the complainers had no idea what that costume was either, until they were told it was a problem.

  9. Rap game Ringo Starr

  10. Hmm this ‘controversy’ conveniently puts Macklemore back in the spotlight! (just kidding, I feel like that kind of response is the new ‘this is totally shopped, i can tell by the pixels…)

  11. See this is what happens when you shop for clothes at a thrift shop. You buy things without realizing their meaning. For instance, just last week I found this really awesome ghost costume. The top was all pointy for some reason, but it was really accurate otherwise! But when I wore it to the costume party at work everyone kept giving me these really disgusted looks…

  12. The headline to this article is like one of those Hemingway six-word stories: ‘Baby shoes for sale; never worn,’ ‘Otherwise tolerant rapper denies anti-Semitism,’ ‘Solange attacks Jay-Z; still a single lady.’

  13. Everyone is all up in arms about the anti-Semitic overtones here (which are inexcusable), but it seems like we’re all ignoring the other heinous thing happening.

    Cultural appropriation of witches.

    Witches are another sub-sect of society that have been historically downtrodden and persecuted. They’ve been burned at the stake, drowned, ran out of towns with pitchforks, and reduced to their own handful of cultural stereotypes.

    J.K. Rowling made witches “cool” over a decade ago, and now Macklemore has decided to add another bit of appropriated paraphernalia to his already bursting arsenal of cultural appropriation.

    A witch nose. For Christ’s sake, is there any group he won’t steal from? Shame, dude, shame.

    • Let’s not forget Monty Python spreading all those negative stereotypes about witches having to weigh the same as a duck, setting unreasonable weight standards for young witches….

  14. There’s a “sucks that I robbed you” joke here somewhere. Or at least a “thrift” joke.

    Personally I’m not offended by his costume. It’s all pretty ridiculous. Your mileage may vary:

  15. Goodbye, douchebag.

  16. Up next, Macklmore punches Jay-Z while wearing a headdress, tweets bedroom pics with Miley, then kicks Ryan Lewis out of the band. OWWWOOOOOOOOO!

  17. not racist for the mere fact that jewish people look like everyone. I just found out that Michael Landon was jewish! Michael “stairway to heaven on the prairie” the super christian is jewish. Mind Blown.

  18. Regardless, we’re all looking forward to the forthcoming Macklemore, Brad Paisley, and LL Cool collaboration, “Accidental Racist 2: Electric Boogaloo.”

  19. “A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody…. But shit, it was ninety-nine cents!”

  20. Mackl’chaim

  21. As if him ‘rapping’ in his ‘normal clothes’ wasn’t annoying enough.

  22. I sent this story to my friend, who I forgot is on the ADL. This is their response:

    While we are glad that people are sensitive to negative portrayal of Jews, the costume that Macklemore donned at the EMP show in Seattle last Friday was ambiguous and should not give rise to charges of anti-Semitism. Absent any other information that may surface, the performer’s May 19 tweet, ‘A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody,’ should put to rest concerns that he intended to portray an anti-Semitic caricature.

    • I kind of was thinking along the same lines (and am not a member of the ADL, although support their mission). What does it say about us as a society that upon seeing his “costume” we immediately jumped to the conclusion that Macklemore was clearly mocking Jewish people with that wardrobe choice? Who exactly is the one reinforcing negative stereotypes in this situation?

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    • I really don’t think recognizing racist stereotypes makes someone racist. A fake red beard, green top hat and pot of gold under the arm may be explained as random mix but it’s not.

      • But this was not as obvious as your example. His random costume could just as easily be interpreted as a Beatle with a big nose. Maybe calling people racists is exaggerating, but obviously no mainstream performer would wear a costume they thought looked like a racial stereotype. The people who saw him and honestly thought “oh he’s making fun of Jewish people” are at least a little dumb and crazy. If not, they are probably just people who don’t like him and want him to look bad publicly. I don’t care for his music myself, but I hate to see a guy take bullshit he doesn’t deserve. It was an honest mistake on his part, let it go.

  24. I want to believe that this was an accident… but that costume’s a little too… ON THE NOSE!!! huehuehuehue…

    I deserve all the downvotes for that but I don’t even care.

  25. Bad taste, bro.

  26. I’m chalking this up to a very bad decision, but not a blatantly anti Semitic.

  27. Macklemore denies making listenable music.

  28. ‘My best friend is a jew’

  29. nose, wig & beard= random costume
    how about nose, wig, beard, moustache, suit jacket, shiny shirt, hair, ring = cheap jewish stereotype.
    that nose was put on really well, no strap even, the beard too and moustache. Most random costumes I wear would tend to fall off especially if i’m on stage dancing around, in the lights, in the suit with the heat and potential sweat. Seems it was put on really well. Seems they took their time on that look *which makes it not random. He had the chance to see his look before the show, nothing about his look was just thrown on. Is he really that dumb? You mean to say at some point didn’t he realize it? Didn’t someone in his crew of people realize it? Anyone he encountered before going on stage?

    Sorry a dude like Mackelmore who sends apology texts for winning awards and acts like such a pussy in general would never own up to the racist costume even if it was his intention. All he wants is to be liked. I’m not jewish, and I’m neither fan or hater of Mackarel, I’m honestly objective. I just think it’s odd that he did something so blatantly racist yet so many people just trust him so much and take him at his word no matter how unreasonable. In my opinion his answer was lame. I definitely think he should consider running for president.

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