What happened? MSNBC's Morning Joe invited Al Sharpton to discuss his thoughts on Adidas cutting ties with Kanye West in response to the rapper's blatantly anti-Semitic comments. "'Do you have a moral compass?' every company ought to ask," Sharpton said after slamming Kanye's "intentional" anti-Semitism.
Al Sharpton? The prominent anti-Semite? Yes. That's the one. The racist provocateur and tracksuit icon who inflamed the Crown Heights riots of August 1991, one of the worst outbursts of anti-Semitic violence in modern American history.
Sharpton delivered a eulogy for Gavin Cato, the seven-year-old whose accidental death intimated the violence that followed, during which he ranted against Jews. "Talk about how Oppenheimer in South Africa sends diamonds straight to Tel Aviv and deals with the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights. The issue is not anti-Semitism; the issue is apartheid," he said. One funeral attendee held a sign that read, "Hitler didn't finish the job."
Weeks earlier, Sharpton had publicly defended Leonard Jeffries Jr., a professor of black studies at City College of New York who accused Jews of financing the slave trade and creating "a system of destruction for black people." Sharpton held a rally and blasted the professor's critics. "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house," he fumed.
What the hell? Indeed. Speaking of which, that's how Sharpton described the Jewish state of Israel during a brief visit while attempting to make a citizen's arrest. Like being "in hell."
Sounds like Al Sharpton's anti-Semitism was "intentional," right? It definitely was. During his interview on Morning Joe to discuss the Kanye West situation, however, Sharpton alluded to his past anti-Semitism by suggesting he had accidentally said some "things that are harmful and could be interpreted wrong." He didn't really "mean it," unlike Kanye.
And the people at MSNBC really buy that? They don't care. It's been more than four years since MSNBC host Joy Reid claimed a hacker planted homophobic, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic comments on her old blog. She hired a cybersecurity expert and notified the FBI, but we're still awaiting the results of that so-called investigation. Reid was promoted in 2020.
Has Sharpton ever apologized? Not really. In a 2020 article commemorating the Crown Heights riots, Tablet magazine editor at large Liel Leibovitz wrote: "As the years went by, Sharpton was given ample opportunity to apologize for his prominent role in this modern day anti-Semitic bloodletting. He never did."
When MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was a congressman, did he ever sponsor a resolution condemning Sharpton for his "racist and anti-Semitic views"? He did! In March 2000, then-Rep. Scarborough (R., Fla.) introduced a concurrent resolution blasting Sharpton's "vicious verbal anti-Semitic attacks directed at members of the Jewish faith," as well as his "fierce demagoguery [that] incited violence, riots, and murder in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York."