The Oscar nominee sought to clarify the situation in a statement on social media and "unconditionally" apologized for "what went on in that chat room."

By Tyler Aquilina
May 08, 2021 at 11:41 AM EDT
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LaKeith Stanfield has apologized for participating in a discussion on the audio-based social media app Clubhouse that turned anti-Semitic on Wednesday. The Daily Beast reported Friday that Stanfield had moderated a chat room in which participants made numerous anti-Semitic comments, which reportedly included conspiracy theories about Jewish people controlling the slave trade and positively discussing Hitler.

Stanfield sought to clarify the situation in a statement posted to social media after the Daily Beast story was published. "Yesterday I entered an online chat room on Clubhouse about the teachings of [controversial Nation of Islam leader] Louis Farrakhan. When the room's participants noticed me, I was quickly made a moderator of this room," the Atlanta star wrote. "At some point during the dialogue the discussion took a very negative turn when several users made abhorrent anti-Semitic statements and at that point, I should have either shut down the discussion or removed myself from it entirely. I condemn hate speech and discriminatory views of every kind. I unconditionally apologize for what went on in that chat room, and for allowing my presence there to give a platform to hate speech. I am not an anti-Semite nor do I condone any of the beliefs discussed in that chat room."

Multiple sources had told The Daily Beast that Stanfield himself never said anything considered anti-Semitic. The story also reported that the Oscar nominee joined another chat the next day, moderated by a group of Jewish educators addressing the previous chat, and said the earlier discussion had been "derailed."

"I've been in a couple rooms where a lot of s--- has been discussed and talked about, very heightened emotional states," Stanfield reportedly said. "It's been very enlightening and interesting to me, I never really knew that this debate existed in this way about identity, the origins of Judaism in Jewishness, and how many different interpretations there are different things, whether or not it's a religion and ethno-religion or what it is a faith race."

"Someone would say something that was without a doubt anti-Semitic… and then instead of acknowledging why it was anti-Semitic, it would just go back to that original person, and then it would kind of repeat what they were saying, they clearly weren't listening to us," he added.

Clubhouse has been repeatedly criticized since its launch in March 2020 for perpetuating racism, harassment, and hate speech through its lack of moderation. The invitation-only app prohibits conversations from being recorded, transcribed, reproduced, or shared without permission, which critics say enables people to act without fear of scrutiny or consequence in discussions on the app.

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