“I want to apologize to the Jewish community and everyone who was offended by my post. I now know my choice of words have caused offense and I’m sorry. That was never my intent,” Foxx, 55, wrote Saturday in a text post on Instagram.
His now-deleted Instagram post said, “They killed this dude named Jesus … What do you think they’ll do to you???!” The Oscar winner also added the hashtags “#fakefriends” and “#fakelove” in the caption.
Some took “they” to mean Jewish people, connecting it with a historic antisemitic trope that Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus.
However, as some social media users pointed out, the phrase used by Foxx is a common Black colloquialism to describe betrayal from a person meant to be one of your biggest supporters.
The phrase is derived from the biblical figure Judas, a disciple and one of Jesus’ 12 apostles, who betrays Jesus in a way that leads to his death.
“To clarify, I was betrayed by a fake friend and that’s what I meant with ‘they’ not anything more,” Foxx wrote in his apology. “I only have love in my heart for everyone.”
USA TODAY has reached out to Foxx’s representative for comment.
The “Blame It” singer “experienced a medical complication” that led to his hospitalization in April. Foxx has yet to share the details of his illness, but in a video update on July 22, he thanked his sister Deidra Dixon and daughter Corinne Foxx for keeping information “airtight,” as he wanted privacy.
In Foxx’s apology, he added: “I love and support the Jewish community. My deepest apologies to anyone who was offended.”
Foxx also reposted a message from restauranteur Mark Birnbaum on his Instagram Story, which stated, “As a close friend for 20 years @iamjamiefoxx is the most inclusive non antisemetic person out there. He’s got nothing but love for everyone including us Jews. Let’s move onto the next nonsensical story of the day.”
A Wider Frame, a newsletter with a focus on Jewish world news, called Foxx’s post “horrifically antisemitic.” In a screenshot shared by the news site, Jennifer Aniston appeared to have liked Foxx’s post.
In a now-expired Instagram Story, Aniston said Foxx’s post “really makes me sick.”
“I did not ‘like’ this post on purpose or by accident,” she said. “And more importantly, I want to be clear to my friends and anyone hurt by this showing up in their feed − I do NOT support any type of antisemitism. And I truly don’t tolerate HATE of any kind. Period.”
It’s unclear why the “Friends” star shows up as liking the post. USA TODAY has reached out to Aniston’s representative for clarification.
The American Jewish Committee wrote on X, formerly Twitter, “The deicide charge, falsely implicating Jews in Jesus’ death, has fueled antisemitic hatred for centuries. Jamie Foxx did the right thing by apologizing for this statement.”
“It is important for everyone, including Foxx’s millions of followers, to know why his post was harmful,” the advocacy group added.
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Many defended Foxx on social media.
” ‘They killed Jesus'” is a common black colloquialism to describe betrayal by those close to you,” X user @IcyTheARTIST wrote. “There’s not a single black person thinking about disrespecting an ethnic group or religion when we use that term. It’s about the behavior of backstabbers like Judas.”
Model Winnie Harlow commented on Foxx’s apology, writing, “I’m so confused .. it’s so clear what you were saying.”
“Love & Hip Hop: Miami” star Jessie Woo added: “Okay this is getting out of hand now … SERIOUSLY THE STRETCH dem people be making before they REACH is absurd! We all know what the meme meant.”