Jamie Foxx (l) Jennifer Aniston (r)

Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Aniston spark controversy over antisemitism and cultural misunderstandings on Instagram

Aniston promoted an antisemitism accusation against Jamie Foxx—but Foxx’s defenders argue he was judged unfairly.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

“I want to apologize to the Jewish community and everyone who was offended by my post,” wrote Jamie Foxx in an Instagram post on Sunday. “I now know my choice of words have caused offense and I’m sorry.”

This apology arrived after a weekend of backlash surrounding an earlier Instagram post from Foxx—and a divisive reply by Jennifer Aniston.

In the original post, Foxx wrote, “THEY KILLED THIS DUDE NAME JESUS…WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY’LL DO TO YOU???! #fakefriends #fakelove.”

This led some commenters—including the Jewish news site A Wider Frame—to accuse Foxx of antisemitism. These detractors interpreted his post as a reference to the antisemitic trope of Jewish deicide, blaming all Jewish people for the death of Jesus.

Since screenshots of the post showed a “like” from Jennifer Aniston, some people also accused Aniston of antisemitism by association. Responding on Instagram stories, she wrote, “This really makes me sick. I did not ‘like’ this post on purpose or by accident.” She added, “I do NOT support any form of antisemitism.”

However, this only fanned the flames of the controversy.

The real meaning of ‘they killed Jesus’

On Black Twitter, numerous people argued that the phrase “they killed Jesus” has a different meaning among Black Americans. It refers to specifically Judas’ betrayal, with no antisemitic connotations. This interpretation lined up with the way Jamie Foxx hashtagged his original post with #fakefriends.

Then in his apology statement, Foxx wrote, “To clarify, I was betrayed by a fake friend and that’s what I meant with “they” not anything else.”

These differing interpretations sparked a wider discussion about cultural misunderstandings. Many commenters suggested that Aniston’s post proved she must not have any Black friends. She also faced backlash for taking such a harsh stance in the first place, failing to give Foxx the benefit of the doubt. Foxx also has no history of making antisemitic remarks elsewhere.

So in her hasty attempt to avoid being seen as antisemitic, Jennifer Aniston wound up being accused of anti-Black racism instead.

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