The American Jewish Congress began circulating a letter on Tuesday that called for signatures on a petition to block Trevor Noah from replacing comedian Jon Stewart as the host of The Daily Show.
The AJC cited as their reasons several old jokes that they called “sexist” and “anti-Semitic” and described the series of tweeted jokes as “crude humor.”
“How can one of the world’s most admired Jewish comedians leave his legacy to a sexist anti-Semite?” asked AJC President Jack Rosen in the letter.
Both Stewart and Comedy Central have since voiced their support for Noah, and Noah has asked that potential viewers refrain from judging him for a “handful of jokes that didn’t land.”
The Anti-Defamation League also weighed in on the controversy, saying simply, “We hope he will not cross the line from legitimate satire into offensiveness with jokes calling up anti-Semitic stereotypes and misogyny.”
The tweets in question ranged from offensive statements about “fat chicks” to stereotypes about Jews being rich bankers. The AJC particularly took offense to these jokes:
“South Africans know how to recycle like Israelis know how to be peaceful.”
And: “Messi gets the ball and the real players try to foul him, but Messi doesn’t go down easy, just like Jewish chicks.”