Food Network star Alton Brown found himself in hot water this week after making inflammatory comments on social media comparing the current political climate to the Holocaust. He took to Twitter Wednesday morning to apologize for his comments, calling them “flippant” while maintaining that his words were an attempt to convey how “deeply frightened” he is by the political climate.
“I apologize for the flippant reference I made to the Holocaust in my tweet last night. It was not a reference I made for humorous effect but rather to reflect how deeply frightened I am for our country,” the 58-year-old Good Eats host wrote. “It was a very poor use of judgment and in poor taste.”
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) November 11, 2020
The comments in question stem from a few since-deleted tweets Brown posted Tuesday night that drew backlash from many of his 4.5 million followers. “So, when they move us to the [concentration] camps, do you think they’ll let us choose the state?” he wrote, according to screenshots captured by the organization Stop Antisemitism. “I’m going to ask for Kansas because the sky is so gorgeous there…over the wheat.”
In a tweet posted two minutes later, Brown wrote, “Do you think the camp uniforms will be striped, like the ones at Auschwitz or will plaid be in vogue?” he wrote, according to a screenshot. When someone replied that it will depend on “who you voted for,” Brown replied, “I have no gold fillings,” referencing the Nazi practice of yanking gold teeth from the mouths of Holocaust victims. “Yikes dude. Take it easy,” another person replied, to which Brown retorted, “F— you.”
“STOP. Alton, I’m a fan, but stop. Not joke fodder, please. We can critique the administration and the absolutely f—ed up coup that’s happening without making glib Holocaust jokes,” one follower replied.
Food writer Michael Twitty wrote, “Auschwitz and gold fillings huh? If you have to dig in other people’s graveyards for references of pain to relate your discomfort to an oppression you’ve never really known by a long shot, just keep your mouth shut and think deeper before you speak.”
Still, others defended Brown’s right to free speech, admittedly in poor taste. “This is what an honest apology looks like. It’s been a while since we’ve seen one, so I thought I’d point it out. Everyone screws up,” someone wrote. “Good people apologize for it. I’ve always thought you were a good man, that opinion hasn’t changed. Honestly apologizing only proves it more.”
Brown’s comments come in the midst of a controversial time for him on social media, as he reportedly spoke out against Donald Trump and the Republican party on Monday in a different series of since-deleted tweets. “I have voted Republican most of my life. I consider myself a conservative. I want to believe there are still ‘very fine’ people on both sides of the aisle but…if #GOP leaders don’t get their collective noses out of that man’s ass, we’re gonna have words,” he wrote.
He later clarified that he voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the presidential election. “It’s time for decency and unity to trump tribalism, racism, and disinformation,” he said.
After one fan wrote that they were disappointed in him, Brown wrote, “Frankly, you have no right to be disappointed in me. None whatsoever. I have used my own platform to speak my mind. You may dislike me, certainly, but disappointment in me should be reserved for say…bad recipes.”