A surprise performance by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis would get me excited, sure. And that’s probably what a lot of audience members were feeling at the Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle (where Macklemore’s coat from the “Thrift Shop” video hangs in the collection).
But folks all over — including Seth Rogen — are scratching their heads now that pictures have emerged of Macklemore (real name: Ben Haggerty) performing in a costume that looks like an ugly Jewish stereotype.
It’s a ridiculous costume, of course; I couldn’t even tell it was Macklemore when I first saw him. However, several blogs, such as Gawker and The Daily Dot, are saying that the rapper dressed up like an “offensive Jewish caricature,” with a “prosthetic schnozz included.” And I can’t honestly say his costume doesn’t look exactly like the anti-Semitic stereotype from the Disney short about the “Three Little Pigs.”
Haggerty, for his part, denies the costume was meant to look like a Jewish stereotype, saying he just wore a “witches nose” with a beard and wig, tweeting, “A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.”
It seems to me that Haggerty wore the costume — apparently to keep his identity hidden for the surprise performance — thinking he just looked silly and was unaware of how it might be perceived. That obliviousness is spectacularly dopey, though, especially given his dedication to other social issues like marriage equality.
I think he owes an apology after being told people found his costume offensive. But given the fact he seems to think he was just wearing a disguise, I’m also not entirely sure one will be forthcoming.
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