Jamie Foxx returned to the public spotlight after a months-long health scare, apologizing for an Instagram post that some have accused of being anti-semitic.
In the now-deleted post, the Oscar winner said, "They killed this dude named Jesus. What do you think they’ll do to you?" with the hashtags fake friends and fake love.
It's unclear who Foxx’s message was directed at. But it drew the ire of many, particularly in the Jewish community.
Some take the "they" in that message to be a reference to Jewish people and the longstanding trope that Jews were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.
Foxx later issued an apology in part, saying, "I want to apologize to the Jewish community and everyone who was offended by my post. I know my choice of words have caused offense, and I’m sorry. That was never my intent."
The head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying, "Truly appreciate Jamie Foxx reaching out and confirming privately what he also said publicly. His message of love for the Jewish community is crucial in this time of rising hate. We are stronger together."
"I think that Jamie's apology was well intended, and I think it is also a reminder to anyone, famous or not, if you have millions of followers, think before you post because anything you say can be taken out of context," said Andrew Freund, TV host, pop culture expert and Critics Choice Association Member.
However, opinions are mixed on the backlash Foxx is facing.
One newsletter that focuses on Jewish world news called his post "horifically anti-semitic," while many fans and celebrities argue he was forced into an apology and that his words were in no way aimed at the Jewish community.
"These kinds of statements cannot happen by people that have these followings because they can incite violence by mistake, and even if it wasn't someone's intent to say something like what Jamie did, someone can take it the wrong way, and it can go the wrong way, and it can end very badly," said Freund.
Also dragged into the drama was Hollywood darling Jennifer Aniston, who liked Foxx’s original post.
She too was forced to clear things up on social media, saying, "This really makes me sick. I did not ‘like this post on purpose or by accident," adding, "I do not support any form of antisemitism, and I truly don't tolerate hate of any kind."
"It was probably just haphazard like or quite honestly, a lot of these stars don't even run their social media accounts," said Freund. "Someone may have liked it by accident for her, but she did not intend to offend anyone, and yeah, she shouldn't have been mixed up in all of this."
With the continued rise of cancel culture, could either of these A-listers or Hollywood icons be ultimately found guilty in the court of public opinion?
"In these times that we're living in right now, everything is up to interpretation," said Freund. "I just think that everyone is very sensitive now, and like it or not, we just have to be sensitive to everyone and we have to be kind to everyone, and we have to learn to all live together, people."
There have been increasing concerns over a rise in anti-Semitism.
The Anti-Defamation League says it counted nearly 3,700 incidents of anti-Semitism in the United States in 2022. That's the highest number since the group began tracking incidents in 1979.
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