ADL Condemns Public Enemy's "Swindlers Lust" Lyrics Assails New Rap Song for Anti-Semitic Language
New York, New York, June 21, 1999
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today
condemned a song by the rap group Public Enemy, labeling the title offensive and the
lyrics suggestive of age-old anti-Semitic themes and rhetoric.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said "Swindlers Lust," the final
track on Public Enemys newly released album, Theres a Poison Goin On,
"contains anti-Semitic overtones and veiled references to the Holocaust."
In a letter to Al Teller, Chief Executive Officer of Atomic Pop Records, Mr. Foxman
said: "The lyrics contain classic anti-Semitic code words and seem to blame Jews for
the plight of financially underprivileged Blacks. Given Public Enemys history of
derogatory remarks about Jews, we are concerned that some of Public Enemys
impressionable young listeners will hear that message.
Mr. Foxman issued the following statement:
"It is outrageous that Public Enemy has chosen to denigrate the memory of one of
the Holocausts legendary heroes, Otto Schindler, by lampooning his name and the
movie "Schindlers List" in a profanity-laced diatribe about how rap
singers feel cheated out of their profits. One lyric in particular `More dollars,
more cents for the big six/Another million claiming they innocence implicitly
evokes the Holocaust.
"This is the kind of racist language that has been previously used in the Black
community by Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. If rap music in any way reflects the
impressions of the larger community, then the themes expressed by this song are indeed
troubling. We have seen this specter arise before with Public Enemy, which despite public
criticism has continued to incite hate and racial divisiveness through its caustic and
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.