Chelsea Handler defends Louis Farrakhan post, then apologizes: ‘I was wrong’
Chelsea Handler is apologizing after she defended praising remarks from Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan in an interview on Monday.
The funny woman and a number of other celebrities first raised eyebrows on June 14 after they shared an old clip from “The Phil Donahue Show” when Farrakhan, who has faced controversy for decades over remarks widely seen as anti-Semitic, was taking questions from the audience.
“I learned a lot from watching this powerful video,” Handler told her nearly 4 million Instagram followers at the time.
Then, Handler, who is Jewish, doubled down on her opinion, again calling Farrakhan’s words “powerful” on the Daily Beast’s “The Last Laugh” podcast.
“I thought his message was really powerful,” Handler said Monday of her initial post, according to Mediaite. “I wasn’t thinking about the anti-Semitic thing, but I don’t want to take down the thing because I felt the message was powerful and a lot of people did, and it was powerful for me the way he spelled it out. That black people don’t have a history of killing white people.”
“White people have a history of killing black people, for hundreds of years,” Handler continued. “Forget about crime. Over and over again we kill black people in this country. So, everyone needs to, like, remember where the violence came from. It’s not from the black people, it’s from the white people.”
The former late-night host declared in her position that everybody “can go f— themselves,” but following the podcast interview, the former “Chelsea Lately” host issued an apology to the Daily Beast and would go on to delete her Instagram post.
“I want to sincerely apologize for posting the video of Louis Farrakhan,” she said in the note. “I didn’t consider the context of his anti-Semitic and homophobic rhetoric, that is of course contrary to my own beliefs and values.
“Part of the process of educating ourselves during this pivotal time is recognizing and working through our mistakes,” she continued. “This was definitely one of mine. I was wrong. It was offensive, and I apologize.”
In the clip, one woman asked why “white people, black people, Jewish people” can’t “come together.” Farrakhan responded by saying that “the desire is good” but that reality is the “total opposite.”
He accused the audience of viewing black Americans as “second-class or inferior citizens” and enforcing “black inferiority” by stripping their African culture dating back to slavery and pushing white culture onto them, citing “white names,” the English language and “white Jesus” as examples.
When another white audience member expressed her concern that she “hears violence” from his rhetoric, Farrakhan insisted she had “deep guilt” and fear that “if black people come to power,” they would commit violence on white people, he said, the way white people had committed violence on black people for years.
Farrakhan rejected an accusation from an attendee that he has a “prejudice” against white people, saying that after “400 years” of oppression, he and other black people are “looking at the reality of what we have suffered and continue to suffer.”
Several Instagram users immediately slammed Handler for sharing a video praising Farrakhan.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report