Grammy winning US rapper Macklemore embroiled in Jewish row

Musician Macklemore poses at the 62nd Annual BMI Pop Awards in Beverly Hills, California. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Musician Macklemore poses at the 62nd Annual BMI Pop Awards in Beverly Hills, California. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Grammy-winning US rapper Macklemore has apologised to anyone offended by a stage costume which critics claimed was anti-Semitic.

One Jewish group called the row a "tempest in a teacup," but hailed the apology by the rapper known for his liberal stances on issues including gay marriage.

Comedian Seth Rogen took to Twitter to denounce the costume, including a beard and a large hooked nose, worn by the musician at a concert last week.

"First you trick people into thinking you're a rapper, now you trick them into thinking you're Jewish?" said Rogen, who is Jewish.

Josh King, under the Twitter handle @chompsk1, wrote: "For those who don't know, @macklemore performed Thrift Shop dressed as a racist Jewish stereotype. idiot."

Macklemore, who won four Grammys at this year's Grammy awards, issued a statement to say that the costume was not intended to represent any particular cultural stereotype.

The rapper won accolades for "Same Love," turned into an anthem for same-sex marriage after over 30 gay couples were married to it at the Grammys, in a music genre not usually known for its positive treatment of homosexuality.

Talking about Friday's costume stunt in Seattle, he said: "I thought it would be fun to dress up in a disguise and go incognito to the event ... I picked up a bunch of fake mustaches and beards and grabbed a left over wig from our recent trip to Japan.

"As it turns out the fake noses they sell at the costume store are usually big (my nose didn't fit most of them) ... I personally thought I looked very ambiguous in terms of any 'type' of person.

Rogen disagreed, tweeting: "If I told someone to put together an anti Semitic Jew costume, they'd have that exact shopping list.

Macklemore insisted: "My intention was to dress up and surprise the people at the show with a random costume ... it was surprising and disappointing that the images of a disguise were sensationalised (as) anti-Semetic (sic)."

"I'm saddened that this story, or any of my choices, would lead to any form of negativity ... I truly apologise to anybody that I may have offended," he added.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADP) welcomed the apology.

"We know that Macklemore is someone who has used his platform in the past to stand up and speak out against intolerance and bigotry," said its national director Abraham H. Foxman.

"With that in mind we believe that this matter is little more than 'a tempest in a teapot' over an unfortunate choice of wardrobe."

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