LaKeith Stanfield addresses old video ‘Swastikas and Bones,’ takes social media break
"I’d never do that again. I’d never use that symbol again," Stanfield said
LaKeith Stanfield publicly addressed an old music video called “Swastikas and Bones” amid the backlash he faced after moderating a Clubhouse session containing anti-Semitic rhetoric.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, The Judas and the Black Mosiah actor opened up about the 2013 music video, which has since been removed online.
He was shown rapping as he leans against a wall “with his shirt off and a swastika digitally superimposed on his forehead. Eventually, the symbol fades away, but is then shown in the upper-right-hand corner in bright yellow,” according to the outlet.
“I actually forgot about it,” Stanfield told The Daily Beast. “Honestly, it wasn’t something that I did for a public viewership, like I have now. I did it a long time ago before I had even done anything. So, I kind of forgot it existed really.”
He told the outlet that he learned that the meaning of the symbol was adopted by the Nazi from its original Hindu roots and the intention of the video was to be commentary. He admitted that it was “stupid and dumb,” and called it “a terrible mistake.”
“I found out that the original definition of the symbol was something completely different, that it represented the sun. So, I attempted to use that meaning within the video, while also trying to be mildly provocative and try and get people to see my message through imagery,” Stanfield said.
“That was a terrible mistake for me to even try and use it, even to try to get across a point that had nothing to do really with hatred. So, I’d never do that again. I’d never use that symbol again.”
As theGrio previously reported, the Atlanta actor faced criticism for moderating a Clubhouse session discussing the teachings of Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan. Stanfield said that someone made him the moderator after noticing his presence in the discussion.
Despite criticism for moderating the discussion, the actor dismissed the pushback with a message on Instagram, saying, “Thinking outside the box comes with a cost.” He then added the caption, “They’ll always try to discredit and attack you…futile.” He then deleted the post and replaced it with an apology that he would eventually delete.
“At some point during the dialogue the discussion took a very negative turn when several users made abhorrent antisemitic statements and at that point, I should have either shut down the discussion or removed myself from it,” he said at the time. “I condemn hate speech and discriminatory views of any kind. I unconditionally apologize for what went on in that chat room, and for allowing my presence there to give a platform to hate speech.”
On Sunday, he announced to his 1 million followers that he’ll be taking a break from social media after the previous backlash.
“Taking a break from this social media,” Stanfield wrote. “I’d advise you all to do the same at least for a little while. Too much of it isn’t healthy I don’t think. Just know that I’d never lie to secure my place in ‘Hollywood.’ If I say I don’t hate, it’s because I don’t.”
He ended the message, “Hold your news sources accountable and think for yourselves. Talk soon.”
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