Better Off Dead star John Cusack claimed a "bot" hacked his Twitter account Monday night, after he shared an anti-Semitic meme which elicited sharp backlash.
The original tweet, captured in a screenshot by freelance journalist Yashar Ali, depicted a cartoon hand marked with the star of David crushing some people. It was accompanied by a quote attributed to the French philosophe Voltaire: "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."
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This is disgusting pic.twitter.com/4b2RlPrNfL
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 17, 2019
Before deleting the tweet, Cusack defended it, in other tweets which he later deleted. "You think Israel isn't committing atrocities against Palestinians? What planet are you on?" he said in one tweet.
3. John Cusack repeatedly defended his tweet before deleting it.
His "bot" excuse is absurd. pic.twitter.com/Jm2NArFVEO
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 18, 2019
Cusack eventually tweeted out a clarification, saying that he thought the anti-Semitic meme was only supporting Palestine and not accusing Jews of controlling the media.
"A bot got me," Cusack said in a tweet he later deleted. "I thought I was endorsing a pro Palestinian justice retweet – of an earlier post – it came I think from a different source – Shouldn't Have retweeted."
Cusack earned the criticism of many, including Sen. Ted. Cruz (R., Texas), who tweeted, "Is John Cusack one of the freshman trio of Dem women? I'm sensing a pattern …" a reference to Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), all of whom have come under fire for their strident support for Palestine.
Omar, particularly, has faced scrutiny for tweeting during the Gaza War in 2012 that Israel has "hypnotized the world." She later apologized. The freshman Congresswoman faced greater backlash this February, however, when she accused Jews of having an "allegiance to a foreign country," a reference to a common slur that American Jews serve Israel above their home country.