The Clubhouse chat is said to be centered on the legacy of Louis Farrakhan, the American religious leader known for his anti-Semitic views. Although Stanfield did not engage in hate speech himself, he was widely criticized for his presence at the virtual event, where he was at one point appointed as the moderator.
In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, the Oscar-nominated actor explained that he was only in the Clubhouse chat to find out about Farrakhan and his opinions. “I certainly don’t align myself with Louis Farrakhan, I don’t support him,” he said. “Any kind of hate speech, I vehemently reject it. It is not for debate, hatred is not for debate. “
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The 29-year-old has taken the opportunity on several occasions to make his position on hate speech clear. “I condemn hate speech and discriminatory opinions of any kind,” he said.
In his revealing interview, Stanfield also provided additional context on the scandal, explaining how he ended up as the conversation moderator.
Stanfield said he decided to get involved in the chat, presented by Clubhouse member Sam Bito as a way to learn about a controversial character he didn’t know much about. “It wasn’t Louis Farrakhan per se,” he said. “Me who walked into the room was more about trying to find out more information about those things that he said or not said, because I wasn’t entirely clear about that.
At one point, the actor claims he raised a virtual hand to ask a question and was appointed to moderate the conversation in the room.
“It was so chaotic in the room, there were a few [incendiary] explosions, ”he explained. “But most of the time, there would be an explosion and then the conversation sort of returned to a normal pace.”
While Stanfield said much of the anti-Semitic discourse arose after putting his phone down for the night, he has been harmed at one point by a Jewish woman in the room, who criticized her for letting the hate speech unfold. “I was really caught off guard, because above all, I did not host the venue,” he said. “But neither did I feel that the conversation was really going in a direction that completely attacked the Jewish people. At that point, I thought there were still people saying their points, and then others saying their points. So I explained to her that I know this is a very tense and emotional conversation to have, and I just want everyone to have time to be able to engage in the conversation. So, that was part of my attempt to moderate this conversation that was going on. “
Initially, it seemed the 29-year-old actor had reacted defensively when the Clubhouse controversy erupted. “Thinking outside the box comes at a cost,” he posted on Instagram at one point. (Stanfield has since deleted all but a few posts on Instagram. He has also argued that this post cited a song, although that claim has yet to be validated.)
In retrospect, however, he sees that he should have responded differently to comments made in the room – either by closing the discussion, when he had the ability to do so as a moderator, or by withdrawing from the conversation altogether. He also admitted that the Clubhouse wasn’t the best place to go, for an educational conversation of the type he claimed to be looking for. “Clubhouse is not a place you want to go. He doesn’t qualify for a place that can teach people precisely about things, ”he said. “At its best, it’s a place that allows for conversation and allows people to understand points of view that they may or may not have been aware of. At worst, it turns into rooms that facilitate things like what happened in this incident. “
Going forward, the actor said he would post on social media with more caution and act with more awareness of the responsibility that comes with his platform. “I take care as I walk forward, to make sure that I am expressing the things that I really feel, and that I can’t even be put in a situation where it can be misinterpreted or be set next to things that don’t. not reflect what I really feel, ”he said. “There is a big responsibility now for me, and I realized that there are all kinds of different people watching the things that I do, and I hold that very important.
No stranger to controversy over the years, Stanfield won his first Oscar nomination this year, for his turn as FBI informant William O’Neal in Judas and the Black Messiah. He will next be seen in the Netflix animated series Yasuke and the third season of FX Atlanta, among other projects.