The comedian and actor Charlie Rose, who is black, said he’s “not anti-Semitic,” but he’s also “not racist” after the White House defended the “hate speech” of white supremacists and other white nationalists.
Rose said Friday that his Twitter account was “not a platform for bigotry.”
But Rose’s comments also drew backlash on social media, with many accusing him of equating hate speech with a lack of diversity in the entertainment industry.
“My point of view is that racism has nothing to do with the content of speech.
It’s about the character of the person speaking.
That’s the way I see it,” Rose said in a radio interview.
Rose, 56, said “black lives matter” and that white supremacists are “not evil” in his tweets.
“I’m not anti-Jewish.
I don’t think it’s anti-Semitism to be anti-black.
I’m not going to deny that there’s some hate speech, some racism in this country,” he said.
But Rose also defended his criticism of white nationalist Richard Spencer, the former head of the white supremacist group Identity Evropa.
“We don’t know where these white supremacists come from, what they’re doing,” Rose told radio host Howard Stern.
“And I just want people to understand that there are people out there who want to get to the bottom of the violence and to see the violence in the black community.”
Rose, a former stand-up comic, said in an interview that he thinks “it’s a good thing that we’re having a conversation.”
He said he is “not prejudiced” about race.
“But the fact that I am white, I think that’s something that I’m very conscious of,” Rose added.
The former host of the hit show “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” said he didn’t know about the “hateful” tweets from Trump, but that he would tweet about them when they were “posted” by people he does not know.
“They’re not my words.
They’re not mine to speak about,” Rose tweeted Friday.
“There are people who have the power to do that, and I’m aware of it.
And if they choose to do so, they should.”
A spokeswoman for the White Trump Campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rose did not name names.
“As a comedian, I’m trying to get the audience in front of a microphone and the world, and the truth is that the majority of the country is against these kinds of things.
I think it was a great show and it was an extremely successful show,” Rose, known for his controversial humor, said on The Late Show.
Rose is known for making controversial statements in recent years, including a tweet in June that he was “f—ing proud” to be a white supremacist and a statement that some members of the Black Lives Matter movement were “good people.”
He also faced criticism last year for mocking the death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager shot by George Zimmerman in 2012.
“When people are talking about the death penalty, there is always a lot of black people in it,” he wrote in a Twitter post that was widely criticized as insensitive and racist.
Rose apologized for the tweet in March.
He said Friday he regrets the comments and that he “will not be able to do it again” in a new interview with “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC.
Rose has also spoken out against the “birther” conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was born outside the United States.
Rose told Kimmel that the birther movement “wasn’t just a conspiracy theory.”
“It was something that really happened,” he added.
Rose was born in South Africa and grew up in Chicago.
He is a member of the musical group “The Roxy Band” and has acted in shows including “American Ninja Warrior,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Caddyshack” and “The Big Bang Theory.”