Last night, T-Pain joined Mel Gibson, Isaiah Washington, Michael Richards, and Don Imus in the Foot-in-Mouth Club while toasting the release of his latest CD, Thr33 Ringz, at Manhattan’s Hiro Lounge. The circus-themed concert had all the makings of a festive carnival, including clowns, midgets, a scantily clad woman on stilts, and surprise guest appearances by Diddy and Busta Rhymes. But the celebration was derailed by the flurry of deeply offensive anti-Semitic jokes T-Pain (born Faheem Najm) hurled at Barry Weiss, chairman of the BMG Label Group, when he appeared on stage to offer his congratulations.
Among other crude and inappropriate remarks, the Grammy-winning rapper proclaimed that “Jews run everything” and “they get all the money,” and frequently shouted things like “matzo ball!” and “mazel tov!” An unruffled Weiss affably played along, remaining cool with a smile on his face as both gasps and giggles escaped from the stunned audience.
In response to my request for comment, Jive Records, T-Pain, and his co-managers, Michael Blumstein and Dave Abram, have issued a joint statement: “During the course of T-Pain’s (Faheem Najm) performance at his album release party last night, Najm brought Barry Weiss to the stage to acknowledge and thank him for ‘believing in him as an artist’ and ‘signing him to the label.’ Mr. Weiss and Mr. Najm have a long-standing, mutually respectful relationship and no offense was meant or taken by any of Najm’s heartfelt on-stage comments. T-Pain sincerely apologizes to anyone who may have been hurt or offended by his remarks.”
Still, yesterday wasn’t the first time T-Pain talked anti-Semitic smack about Weiss.Back in August, he did the same thing at an intimate listening partyfor Thr33 Ringz in New York. Though his comments were no less abhorrentand unnecessary, he (barely) got away with it only because it seemed asif he and Weiss were sharing a genuine moment of politically incorrect humorbetween friends that should’ve been kept private. But what happened last night was no joke. It was just plain ignorant.