“I couldn’t stomach another white assimilated Jewish American Princess who is wildly privileged but thinks she’s oppressed,” designer Recho Omondi says.
By World Israel News Staff
American designer Recho Omondi is being accused of anti-Semitism after making controversial comments during an interview with Jewish-American designer Leandra Medine Cohen on her popular podcast “The Cutting Room Floor,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) first reported Monday.
Originally aired on July 7, the podcast was headlined “Upper East Sider Realizes She’s Privileged,” and was meant to address a controversy surrounding Medine Cohen, who last year faced backlash after shutting down her company Man Repeller and leaving her employees jobless, just as the coronavirus pandemic was spreading across the country.
However, listening to the podcast makes it clear that somewhere along the way Omondi mistakenly diverts from the original purpose of the interview and mixes anti-Semitic notions into what she may think is a valid perspective meant to emphasize social-justice.
“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,” Omondi says at the beginning of the podcast, falsely connecting the Jewish narrative to white supremacy and to American slave-owners, who enslaved Africans in America for about two and a half centuries.
Jews did not actually make up a significant portion of slave-owners in the U.S. nor of the country’s founding fathers, notes JTA. As such, Omondi remarks tapped into anti-Semitic stereotypes usually used by the most prominent anti-Semites in the U.S. and around the world.
Towards the end of the interview, as Medine Cohen talks about anti-Semitism in her own life, her host cuts her off and begins talking as if her guest is no longer in the room, while using a decades-old anti-Semitic slur used against Jewish women in the U.S.: “Jewish American Princess.”
“I couldn’t stomach another white assimilated Jewish American Princess who is wildly privileged but thinks she’s oppressed,” Omondi says, the JTA report continues. “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,” she adds.
And while some comments praised Omondi for her “tenacious + brilliant probe of the intersection of Jewish whiteness and Black belonging,” as Omondi herself shared on her Instagram, most comments on the podcast pointed to her problematic use of anti-Semitic rhetoric, to say the least.
“[W]as it necessary to say such stereotypical and blatantly anti-Semitic things to illustrate that? Big yikes all around,” one user wrote. The episode “shamelessly equates Jewishness with wealth, power & privilege,” Jewish writer Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt later tweeted.
Omondi has since closed the comment section on the episode and has edited out the episode’s beginning and ending, which included most of the anti-Semitic references. And less than a day after it was published, Omondi wrote on Instagram that she understands that “Leandra does not represent ALL Jewish people or the vast culture whatsoever.”
Realizing that by integrating anti-Semitic rhetoric, she had completely missed the purpose of her podcast, she later added: “I want to be clear that it’s not my intention to stir up any hate or trolling from this episode,” JTA reported.