Podcast host Recho Omondi has apologized for utilizing antisemitic slurs in a current interview with Man Repeller founder Leandra Medine Cohen. We spoke to consultants about why the feedback had been damaging.
Designer Recho Omondi launched the style podcast The Slicing Room Ground in 2018, and has since used the platform to deal with necessary subjects within the trade. From myths about recycling clothes to the required evolution of designers, every episode is full of Omondi’s signature well-informed style commentary. The podcast is beloved by listeners however not broadly recognized, with it averaging 10,000 listeners per episode, in accordance with The Enterprise of Vogue. That is why it was stunning to some that Leandra Medine Cohen, founding father of now-ceased style publication Man Repeller, selected Omondi’s podcast for her first interview about shutting down the positioning.
The episode containing the Medina interview, “The Tanning of America,” was launched on July 7. The episode touched on Medine Cohen’s determination to finish Man Repeller abruptly final 12 months, the backlash she confronted for pandemic layoffs (one in every of which was to a senior Black worker) and the alleged hostile work atmosphere on the publication. “The Tanning of America” has garnered new ranges of consideration for The Slicing Room Ground — this time, due to its informal but unmistakable antisemitism.
The podcast episode centered on Medine Cohen’s privilege, with quotes of her saying that rising up, she thought she was on “the brink of being homeless” till she realized final summer time that she had all the time been rich. This felt notably tone deaf at a time when many individuals are really dealing with homelessness, and her determination to immediately shutter Man Repeller left a few of her staff and not using a job in the midst of a world pandemic. Her statements circulated across the web, and a few media shops responded with items like one which got here from The Reduce titled Higher East Sider Realizes She’s Privileged. Briefly, the interview didn’t go effectively.
The episode’s dialog was damaged up by Omondi’s private narrative dialogue, the place she made some feedback about Medine Cohen because it pertains to her being Jewish. She began off the podcast by saying, “This country was founded by racist white men, and for the purpose of this episode it’s important to note that many of those white men, slaveowners, etc., were also Jewish and also saw Blacks as less than human.”
On the episode’s finish, Omondi used Jewish stereotypes to argue that Medine Cohen has not been oppressed. “I couldn’t stomach another white assimilated Jewish American Princess who is wildly privileged but thinks she’s oppressed,” she mentioned. “At the end of the day you guys are going to get your nose jobs and your keratin treatments and change your last name from Ralph Lifshitz to Ralph Lauren and you will be fine.”
Ben Gross sales, a author for the Jewish Telegraphic Company, wrote about his response to the podcast on July 12, saying he was stunned at how “her interview was bookended by antisemitism.”
“The language Omondi used jumped out at me right away,” Gross sales tells FASHION. “Her false claim about Jewish slave owners has been debunked, and her comments on nose jobs and Medine Cohen being a ‘Jewish American Princess’ echoed age-old stereotypes about Jews being materialistic.”
Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, a Jewish journalist, additionally Tweeted her response to the podcast on July 12, stating that there have been “antisemitic dog whistles,” and saying that Omondi “shamelessly equates Jewishness with wealth, power & privilege.” She referred to as out publications for not together with this of their preliminary protection of the episode.
The day after the podcast was uploaded, Omondi posted to her Instagram Story: “I want to recognize that I understand Leandra does not represent ALL Jewish people or the vast culture whatsoever.” She added that she would block individuals who posted hateful feedback about Jewish folks on her account.
As criticisms surrounding her podcast remarks grew, Omondi edited and re-uploaded the episode with out the antisemitic feedback, and on July 20, she launched an official apology by way of The Slicing Room Ground. In her apology, Omondi mentioned she painted Jewish folks with “one big, broad stroke” and that she didn’t perceive the nuances of the tradition. She mentioned when utilizing the time period “Jewish American Princess,” she didn’t understand it was a slur and likened it extra to the time period “airhead.”
Anna Shternshis, director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Research on the College of Toronto, says the prejudices enveloped in phrases like “Jewish American Princess” are deep-rooted.
“’Jewish American Princess’ is an image of a young woman who is all about materialistic goods, who is only interested in financial benefits to herself, who doesn’t have genuine feelings, who is all superficial. [She is] very interested in her looks, but not interested in anything that goes beyond a strong position in the world,” she tells FASHION.
These stereotypes date again to when Jewish immigrants had been struggling to assimilate to American tradition on the finish of the nineteenth century. Because of their difficulties in attempting to regulate, Jewish folks used self-deprecating phrases like “Jewish American Princess” as a means of “laughing at our own misfortunes,” Shternshis explains.
In her apology, Omondi mentioned she appreciated those that referred to as her out on her feedback. “I’m not going to sit here and act like I know everything about Jewish culture because I’m learning about it, but, you know, I’m not ashamed to say when I fucked up. I’m not ashamed to learn more.” On the time of publishing, Medine Cohen has not responded publicly to the podcast episode or Omondi’s apology.
There are lots of people who don’t know rather a lot concerning the Jewish neighborhood, and subsequently don’t understand they’re perpetuating antisemitic concepts, says Gross sales. “There’s been a popular misconception in American society that all Jews are white and rich, which was never the case but which feeds into antisemitism,” he explains.
The scenario in the end serves as an necessary reminder of the unconscious biases all of us maintain. “I hope all listeners, Jewish and not, will take away that we all have blind spots, and all have more to learn about groups whose experiences we don’t share or fully understand,” says Gross sales.