Grammy Award-winning rapper Macklemore released an explanation and apology on his website Monday, following claims that a costume he recently wore on stage was an anti-Semitic caricature.
The entertainer was given a big boost by the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights group representing the Jewish community, when the organization told TheBlaze in a statement Tuesday that it “accepted Macklemore at his word” that his costume wasn’t meant to be offensive.
“We welcome Macklemore’s apology for wearing a costume that, regardless of his motives, reminded many people of an anti-Semitic caricature,” said Anti-Defamation League leader Abraham Foxman. “We take him at his word that he did not have any ill-intent and unreservedly accept his apology.”
Foxman continued, “We know that Macklemore is someone who has used his platform in the past to stand up and speak out against intolerance and bigotry, particularly homophobia. With that in mind we believe that this matter is little more than ‘a tempest in a teapot’ over an unfortunate choice of wardrobe.”
Macklemore released an explanation Monday explicitly addressing these issues.
“Family, friends and fans alike who know me well, know that I’m absolutely not the person described in certain headlines today,” Macklemore wrote on Monday. “There is no worse feeling than being misunderstood, especially when people are hurt or offended.”
He went on to explain that he simply thought it would be fun to “dress up in disguise and go incognito” to the surprise performance that was held at Seattle’s EMP Museum.
— Ian de Borja (@idb1204) May 19, 2014
“Disguise was the intention. I personally thought I looked very ambiguous in terms of any ‘type’ of person,” the rapper continued. “Some people there thought I looked like Ringo, some Abe Lincoln. If anything I thought I looked like Humpty Hump with a bowl cut.”
Macklemore said that he never once thought about any specific culture, noting that he regularly dresses up in character. He called the reaction “surprising and disappointing” and said that photos of his disguise were sensationalized.
A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.
— Macklemore (@macklemore) May 19, 2014
The rapper said he respects all people and cultures and that he loves “a weird outfit from time to time.”
Read his entire statement here.