(JTA) – Recho Omondi, a fashion podcaster who was accused of anti-Semitism for comments in a recent interview she conducted with a Jewish writer, issued a lengthy apology to her listeners.
“I owe the Jewish community and anyone who is offended by my words an apology,” Omondi said in a six-minute segment posted Tuesday morning on his podcast channel, The Cutting Room Floor. “I said some really crass and reductive things about the Jews, painting them in one big, wide stroke, and it really stereotyped and insulted a lot of my friends, show fans and strangers.”
Omondi was accused of anti-Semitism following an interview with fashion blogger Leandra Medine Cohen almost two weeks ago. Medine Cohen resigned from the publication she founded, Man Repeller, last year after suffering backlash for sacking one of her few black employees months before the summer’s racial justice protests.
In the introduction to his interview with Medine Cohen, Omondi, who is black, claimed that “many” of the country’s racist white founders, including the slave owners, were Jewish. This false claim echoes a stereotype promoted by some prominent American anti-Semites.
At the end of the podcast, Omondi called Medine Cohen an “American Jewish Princess” and added, “At the end of the day you’re going to get your nose and keratin treatments changed and your name changed from Ralph Lifshitz. to Ralph Lauren and everything will be fine.
Medine Cohen’s comments in the interview with Omondi have been widely criticized as not being self-aware. But in the days after the podcast went live, listeners wrote that they were offended by Omondi’s comments. These listeners included several donors of small contributions to support the podcast on a crowdfunding site.
The Anti-Defamation League has asked Omondi to apologize. A widely read podcast article in The Cut, a style and culture publication, added a note on accusations of anti-Semitism.
The day after downloading the podcast, Omondi posted on Instagram: “I want to acknowledge that I understand that Leandra does not represent ALL Jews or the wider culture whatsoever. A few days later, she deleted the comments on Jewish slave owners and the “Jewish American Princess” segment from the podcast.
In her apology Tuesday, Omondi, also the designer of an eponymous fashion brand, said she did not understand the nuances and diversity of Jewish life.
“It took a second, because I really had to come to terms with my own thoughts, my biases, where those biases were coming from,” she said. “So, I am very sorry for all the people that I have disrespected and alienated by my own lack of understanding for, really, the depth of Jewish culture. I knew it was vast, but I didn’t understand how nuanced it was. And now I’m aware of the difference between, like, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews and various colored Jews and black Jews, and the difference between being an ethnicity, or religion, or a nation state.
Omondi added that she did not understand that “Jewish American Princess” was an insult, saying she thought it was “an absurd thing to say” but that she did not know “the whole story behind which is still very much alive and well for the Jewish people. ”She also said her comments about keratin treatments and nose jobs were” dark. “
Within the fashion industry, she said, “most of my experiences with Jews generally included a lot of racist and anti-black energy, and this led me to judge the community in its together unfairly, to be honest, but I realized that there was a lot more black and Jewish solidarity, organizations and initiatives against racial injustice than I have ever experienced.
Omondi said she didn’t want to “let this become my villain origin story” and that she was grateful to those who called for her comments. She said that “all of my grievances about Leandra really have nothing to do with her Judaism.”
“I’m not going to say and act like I know everything about Jewish culture, because I’m learning about it, but, you know, I’m not ashamed to say when I fucked up,” he said. she declared. “I’m not ashamed to know more.
Medine Cohen does not appear to have sent Omondi’s apologies on Instagram or his personal newsletter. The Jewish Telegraph Agency emailed Medine Cohen for comment.
Post Fashion podcaster accused of anti-Semitism: “I owe the Jewish community an apology” first appeared on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.