John Cusack at first blamed the image on a bot, then apologized and said sharing it was a mistake
John Cusack issued a lengthy apology after retweeting an anti-Semitic meme, claiming he “made a mistake” by sharing the image with his 1 million followers.
Cusack, 52, shared the since-deleted image Monday, which showed a large hand with the Star of David on its sleeve pushing down on people, according to the Daily Beast.
The image included a quote that read, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,” which is frequently misattributed to the French philosopher Voltaire, but was actually said by white nationalist Kevin Strom, reports the BBC.
The Say Anything star added a message of his own, writing, “Follow the money.”
The image was quickly deleted, and Cusack soon told his followers that “a bot got me,” explaining that he was trying to endorse a pro-Palestine tweet, and shared the image “without really looking at it.”
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He later clarified that by “bots,” he meant alt-right accounts, which he considers the same thing because they are both “not a person but an organized agenda.”
Cusack then told his followers multiple times he’d retweeted the image by mistake, and regretted doing so, while explaining that he’d taken the Star of David to represent the Israeli flag.
“Well, if it needs more clarity – this can be instructive. Some thought to follow – 1. In reaction to Palestinian human rights under Israeli occupation, an issue that concerns anyone fighting for justice, I RT’d & quickly deleted an image that’s harmful to both Jewish & Palestinian friends, & for that I’m sorry,” he wrote. “The image depicted a blue Star of David, which I associated with Israel as their flag uses the same color & shape. I know the star itself is deeply meaningful to Jews no matter where they stand on Israel’s attacks on Palestinians.”
He continued, “The use of the star, even if it depicts the state of Israel – committing human rights violations – when combined with anti-Jewish tropes about power, is anti-Semitic and anti-Semitism has no place in any rational political dialogue…. To justify it, [it] would be as bad as conflating the cross with [the] U.S. flag when confronting U.S. atrocities. So I get why it was a careless, dumb thing to retweet.”
Cusack concluded by wishing “solidarity and peace to all,” and encouraging his followers to watch his film Max and a documentary called The Architecture of Doom to learn more about the history of anti-Semitism and fascism, things he’s been “digging in deeply to the complexities of” for years.