Chelsea Handler, Jessica Chastain and other celebrities are being criticized for sharing a 30-year-old video of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a man with a long history of making anti-Semitic, anti-white and anti-LGBT comments.
Handler, who has nearly 4 million followers on Instagram, shared a 9-minute, 30-second clip on Sunday of Farrakhan making an appearance on “The Phil Donahue Show” in 1990 to discuss the historic oppression of African Americans. “I learned a lot from watching this powerful video,” Handler added as her caption.
“White people have a history of killing us,” Farrakhan said in response to one member of Donahue’s audience. “And what you fear… and it’s a deep guilt thing, that white folks suffer, you are afraid that if we ever come to power, we will do to you and your fathers what you and your people have done to us. And I think you are judging us by the state of your own mind, and that is not necessarily the mind of black people.”
A-list stars like Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Garner and Michelle Pfeiffer “liked” Handler’s post. Rapper Busta Rhymes also thanked Handler in her comments for sharing “the truth.” But many of Handler’s followers were quick to point out Farrakhan may not be an ideal person to highlight, considering his past statements about Jews.
“I don’t care what they put on me. The government is my enemy, the powerful Jews are my enemy,” Farrakhan said in 2018, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL’s website has archived dozens of anti-Semitic comments made by Farrakhan going back decades, including several bizarre statements about “satanic Jews”; during one sermon in 2010, Farrakhan warned “satanic Jews” had “taken over BET.” And more recently, Facebook deleted a video from Farrakhan comparing Jews to termites in late 2018.
The ADL also detailed Farrakhan’s negative remarks about the LGBT community, including a denunciation of homosexuality as “degenerate crap.”
These comments, and many others like them, led some of Handler’s followers to call her out. “The one person of color to whom I not listen. He has made terrible comments about Jews,” one follower said. Another Instagram user said Farrakhan is “very anti-Semitic and you can’t erase that. He has spent years convincing black people that the Jews are their enemies, not their allies.”
Another follower asked if Handler would be open to sharing more videos from anti-Semities, as long as they said something worthwhile — a question that drew a response from Handler.
“So, based on this logic, if you find a video of Hitler saying something positive and powerful, will you feel equally compelled to share it? You gave hate credibility and a large platform today,” one Instagram user said on Handler’s post.
Handler responded: “No, because Hitler was responsible for killing millions of lives. Farrakhan is just responsible for his own promotion of anti Semitic beliefs. They are very different.”
Later, Handler added that “perhaps Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic views took form during his own oppression. We know now that oppression of one race leads to an oppression of all races.”
Handler wasn’t the only one moved by the old video of Farrakhan, either. Chastain shared Handler’s post to her Instagram Story soon after, and former “The Good Place” star Jameela Jamil posted the same video to her Instagram account. “Someone please tell me the name of this extraordinary man who so perfectly sums up white fear in under a minute,” Jamil captioned the video, while adding a heart emoji. Jamil later pulled the video from her account.
Jezebel on Monday reported that the clip was also praised by actress Lisa Rina and actor Sean Hayes.