"I am not an anti-Semite nor do I condone any of the beliefs discussed in that chat room," LaKeith Stanfield said

By Nicholas Rice
May 08, 2021 01:00 PM
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Lakeith Stanfield
Credit: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

LaKeith Stanfield is issuing an apology and says he does not accept hate speech of any form.

Earlier this week, the 29-year-old actor was a moderator in a Clubhouse conversation, where users began to share conspiracy theories about Jewish people, according to The Daily Beast.

In a statement shared with PEOPLE, which the Oscar nominee also posted on Instagram, Stanfield explained what happened in the chat room. "Yesterday I entered an online chat room on Clubhouse about the teachings of Louis Farrakhan. When the room's participants noticed me, I was quickly made a moderator of this room," he said. "At some point during the dialogue the discussion took a very negative turn when several users made abhorrent anti-Semitic statements and at that point, I should have either shut down the discussion or removed myself from it entirely."

The controversial leader of the Nation of Islam, Farrakhan is "an anti-Semite who routinely accuses Jews of manipulating the U.S. government and controlling the levers of world power," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Judas and the Black Messiah star added, "I condemn hate speech and discriminatory views of every kind. I unconditionally apologize for what went on in that chat room, and for allowing my presence there to give a platform to hate speech. I am not an anti-Semite nor do I condone any of the beliefs discussed in that chat room."

According to the Daily Beast, participants in the Clubhouse room were said to have made horrific comments after another chat room was previously shut down. In the new chat room — which was titled "Someone Ended the Room About Farrakhan" — users allegedly spoke openly about an array of topics, including conspiracy theories about Jewish people running the slave trade and comparing Jewish people to termites. Similarly, The Daily Beast reported that people in the chat room praised Adolf Hitler.

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Hours after The Daily Beast reported the news and singled out Stanfield for "flirting with anti-Semitism," the actor shared a since-deleted Instagram post where he appeared to respond to the backlash.

"They'll always try to discredit and attack you...futile," Stanfield captioned a picture that read, "thinkin outside of the box come wit a cost," according to a screenshot taken by The Daily Beast.

Although Stanfield was a moderator of the Clubhouse chat, four individuals told the outlet that the actor "never said anything that would be considered anti-Semitic."

The following day, Stanfield then took part in another Clubhouse room, The Daily Beast reported, which was instead run by a panel of Jewish educators. During the conversation, the Atlanta actor said the discussions from the day prior had become "derailed."

"It's been a crazy couple 48 hours," Stanfield reportedly said. "I've been in a couple rooms where a lot of shit has been discussed and talked about, very heightened emotional states."

The star continued, "It's been very enlightening and interesting to me, I never really knew that this debate existed in this way about identity, the origins of Judaism in Jewishness, and how many different interpretations there are different things, whether or not it's a religion and ethno-religion or what it is a faith race."

Explaining what happened during the Wednesday chat room experience, Stanfield added, "Someone would say something that was without a doubt anti-Semitic … and then instead of acknowledging why it was anti-Semitic, it would just go back to that original person, and then it would kind of repeat what they were saying, they clearly weren't listening to us."

Stanfield also noted that he needs to pay "attention to what is actually being discussed and determine if that's a discussion that you really want to get into," when deciding whether or not to become a moderator in a room going forward.