John Cusack Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Tweet, Blames a ‘Bot’

Keith McDuffee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The actor said “A bot got me- I thought I was endorsing a pro Palestinian justice retweet”

On Monday, John Cusack retweeted an anti-Semitic meme . To make matters worse, he captioned it with a neo-Nazi quote. Following widespread criticism, he defended his tweet. However, after deleting the tweet as well as his following tweets, he said that he attempted to criticize Israel as a nation and its policies, not Jewish people.

The initial meme which sparked outrage depicted a large hand with the Star of David. The hand was crushing people beneath it. The quote that accompanied it was, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

The quote was incorrectly attributed to infamous French thinker Voltaire. However, the reality is that it is an excerpt from American neo-Nazi Kevin Strom’s 1993 essay. In addition to the quote from Strom, Cusack added his caption, which told his followers to “follow the money.”

Initially, Cusack defended his post by saying that Israel was “committing atrocities against Palestinians” and tweeted that he didn’t create the image but was retweeting it. However, a couple of hours later, Cusack deleted the post and blamed the entire thing on a bot.

He said that a bot got him. He explained that he thought he was “endorsing a pro Palestinian justice retweet” of an older post. However, he believes it came from a different source. He then said that he shouldn’t have retweeted it.

Many users remain unconvinced by Cusack’s explanation saying that it wasn’t a satisfactory explanation blaming a bot. Cusack acknowledged his mistake as criticism mounted. He insists that the context was a retweet about a Palestinian hospital bombing.

Cusack then issued an apology saying that he retweeted an image that is harmful to both Jewish and Palestinian friends in reaction to Palestinian human rights under Israeli occupation. He said that he was sorry about that. Cusack went on to explain that the use of the Star of David “when combined with anti-Jewish tropes about power” is anti-Semitic. He finished by saying that anti-Semitism doesn’t have a place in rational political dialogue.

Cusack’s “bot” excuse has been called “absurd.”

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter