The Daily Beast:
The actor moderated a Clubhouse room where people spread hateful conspiracy theories about Jewish people. When he was called out, he avoided responsibility for participating.
Attempting to justify a Louis Farrakhan remark that comparedJews to termites, spreading conspiracy theories about Jewish people controlling the slave trade, and discussing Hitler in a positive light were only a portion of the vile anti-Semitic comments that were made during a bigoted and ignorant discussion on Clubhouse Wednesday night.
Already that evening, a previous room with a similar discussion had turned so inflammatory that a moderator shut down the talk. But instead of closing the app, some of the participants launched a second room to pick up where the first left off, titling it, “Someone Ended the Room About Farrakhan,” accompanied by the nefarious purple devil emoji.
It was during this hours-long unbridled discussion that people would take to the app’s stage to spew what a person described as one of the most disturbing things he had ever heard. “I’m not even Jewish,” Kareem Rifai told The Daily Beast. “I’m an ally to Jewish people and I was there for my Jewish friends who were there because I’m sure it was very traumatic for them. Honestly, I can’t describe it… I felt sick to my stomach for most of it.”
“Some of the things that were said were worse than things that I’ve read or heard about neo-Nazis saying, it was insane.”
So, it came as a huge surprise that among the talk’s moderators was actor LaKeith Stanfield, who was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year for his role as an FBI informant in Judas and the Black Messiah.
Stanfield is no stranger to the audio-based app, participating in a “moan room” in December where women gleefully judge men making sounds of ecstasy. (He ended up winning, although declined to pocket the $300 prize money.) He also used the platform in March for a casting call for his upcoming project in London.
But seeing the 29-year-old moderating and periodically engaging in the hateful discussion was upsetting to many, although four people confirmed to The Daily Beast that Stanfield never said anything that would be considered anti-Semitic.
One Jewish woman was so sickened by the things she was hearing that she took the stage to directly ask Stanfield why he was involved in a conversation that was amplifying hate speech, according to three sources. But instead of taking the opportunity to condemn the anti-Semitism running rampant in the room, Stanfield reportedly shrugged off the concern and avoided any responsibility for participating.
“He told her, ‘This is probably an emotional kind of room for you, tensions are running high, and I understand this is a very heated room,’” Rifai recalled. “Then he just kind of danced around it not really saying anything.”
“You can’t stay neutral in that type of situation, when there’s so clearly a side that is spewing hate speech and another side that’s trying to just defend themselves,” he added. “The fact he sat in that room for hours on end, making it available to thousands and thousands of people on their Clubhouse feed, it’s irresponsible.”