Over the weekend, The Sun, a tabloid in the United Kingdom, joined countless outlets in reporting about the allegedly anti-Semitic comments that were made last week by singer Katy Perry's father, Keith Hudson.
Hudson, an evangelical pastor, was delivering a sermon at Church on the Rise in Westlake, Ohio, when the controversial statements were uttered. Since the event, media outlets have been running wild with his words.
"You know how to make the Jew jealous? Have some money, honey," he said. "You go to LA and they own all the Rolex and diamond places. Walk down a part of LA where we live and it is so rich it smells. You ever smell rich? They are all Jews, hallelujah. Amen," he continued.
The Sun called this a "sick blast," while The Jewish Forward called it an "anti-Semitic rant." And the Inquisitr referred to the comments as "hate speeches." Even the Anti-Defamation League got involved, with the group's national director harshly condemning the comments:
Keith Hudson's unabashedly anti-Semitic remarks to hundreds of worshippers in Ohio about Jews and money are a reminder that the age-old stereotypes are alive and well and continue to bubble up to the surface in many segments of society. We have seen it previously manifested in pop culture and in religious and political spheres.
Church-based anti-Semitism historically has been one of the most virulent forms of this disease. We have made much progress in this country in terms of religiously based anti-Semitism. That's why this manifestation is so disturbing...
But when the Blaze questioned Keith and his wife, Mary, in an exclusive interview, they offered up a very different explanation, calling the media's depiction of the sermon "so out of context."
During a phone call Monday afternoon, Keith said that the media have been inundating him with phone calls.
"I'm not anti-Semitic," Keith explained. "We have lots of Jewish friends. We’ve supported Jewish orphanages...The Hudsons do not mean any harm."
Rather than a "sick blast" or a "rant," he explained that the comments were said in jest and that there was certainly no harm meant by them. "I was joking. I have said this for years – I’ve said it in other churches before," he continued.
Just before the comments were made, Keith said that he was talking about and praying for small business owners -- mainly individuals who were self-employed. "I was talking about how God wants people to prosper and to be a blessing," he explains. "God wants to bless you so you can be a blessing."
It was after speaking and praying for these business owners that he made the joking comments about Jewish wealth. Quips about Judaism and wealth are widely regarded as pejorative and have been known to cause offense. But it's the context that the Hudsons say is missing from media reports about the incident.
Mary went on to explain that the family has given thousands of dollars to Jewish charities and that they have supported Pastor John Hagee and Christians & Jews United for Israel.
Additionally, the husband and wife duo said that they have preached with Messianic Jewish leaders. According to Mary, her family may even have Jewish roots. "We love the Jewish people," she reiterated.
"I think where I erred was in using the word 'Jews,'" Keith said, acknowledging the fact that some may see the word as offensive (though he maintains that he had no ill will in using the term). "I should have used the word 'Jewish' instead."
In an interview with the Blaze, Pastor Phil Tammy Hotsenpiller (an expert in spreading faith in Hollywood whom we have profiled in the past), a close friend of the Hudson family, flatly rejected the notion that they are anti-Semitic.
"I would say it's absolutely false," Hotsenpiller said of the media's anti-Jewish charges. "They're some of the most pro-Israel people I know on the planet. There's rarely a conversation we have that doesn't talk about blessing Israel [and] praying for Israel..."
The Blaze also interviewed David Schneier, a lawyer and a rabbi at the Messianic Initiative. When we told Schneier about the anti-Semitic allegations, he was surprised, as the Hudsons have worked with him in the past.
"Anyone who says anything like that -- they don't know them. Its nonsense," he said. "I know them personally. They've attended conferences with the Messianic Congregation. They have never appeared to be and are not anti-Semitic. Period."
Aside from failing to report the other side of the story, some media had details surrounding the incident incorrect. The Jewish Forward, for example, reported that Keith is "a preacher at an Ohio church" and that Mary, too, works for the same house of worship. Neither is true. The husband and wife were merely visiting the church and guest speaking when these comments were made.
Sometimes controversial remarks have clear malicious intent.
Sometimes they seem to be nothing more then idiotic, coming from a confused or misinformed source.
But sometimes it’s hard to know what the person was thinking, or what the purpose was of the remarks themselves. The father of international music star Katy Perry, Mr. Keith Hudson, seems to fall under that third category, but it really is hard to tell.
This story has certainly grown legs. The Hudsons, throughout our talk, reiterated their support for the Jewish people and were adamant about not meaning to offend. Still, there's no doubt many will remain offended by Keith's comments.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.