Earlier this month, LaKeith Stanfield became a moderator of a conversation on Clubhouse where dozens spewed anti-Semitic rhetoric and ideals. He has since come forward in a tell-all to the Daily Beast to explain his participation in the chat.
“I definitely don’t align myself with Louis Farrakhan, I don’t stand by him,” Stanfield said. “Any kind of hate speech, I vehemently reject. That’s not up for debate, hate is not up for debate.”
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Stanfield alleged that he joined the Clubhouse room because he wanted to educate himself more about Farrakhan, who he said he had heard of, but did not know a lot about. The first room, operating under the guise of having a “balanced” conversation about Farrakhan’s legacy, was shut down by a moderator, but a second room picked things right up where they left off. Stanfield told the Daily Beast that he was eventually made a moderator by another one of the room’s members after he digitally raised his hand to ask a question.
“I also didn’t feel that the conversation was really headed in a direction that was completely attacking Jewish people,” Stanfield told the Daily Beast. He went on to insist that he wandered away from his phone when “a whole bunch of chaos started to erupt and people are saying all kinds of crazy things, apparently.”
Representatives for Stanfield told Variety that the actor does not have further comment on the matter.
The day after the conversation, the Academy Award-nominated actor posted on Instagram an image that said, “Thinkin outside of the box come wit a cost” with the caption, “They’ll always try to discredit and attack you… futile.” He told the Daily Beast the post had nothing to do with the backlash, but was rather just some song lyrics, which could not be confirmed. The post was later deleted and replaced with an apology. Stanfield wrote he “should have shut down the discussion or removed” himself from it when “users made abhorrent antisemitic statements.” The post has also since been deleted, along with all of his Instagram content except for two posts.
Participation in the Clubhouse room was not Stanfield’s first brush with anti-Semitism. In a now-removed 2013 YouTube music video called “Swastikas and Bones,” a digitally-inserted swastika appears on his forehead, which then fades and reappears in the corner. He explained the use of the hate symbol was a poor attempt to acknowledge it had been appropriated by the Nazis from its Hindu roots.
As signaled by the wipe of his Instagram, Stanfield told the Daily Beast that he is stepping back from social media and has since had private conversations with influential leaders like Rabbi David Wolpe. He confessed Clubhouse was not the right place to gain a proper understanding about the divisions between Black and Jewish communities and Farrakhan.
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