Last night at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Los Angeles, John Mellencamp took a vocal stand against antisemitism. Mellencamp was on hand to honor legendary music industry lawyer Allen Grubman. Grubman was being honored with the Ahmet Ertegun award. He has been Mellencamp’s lawyer for 40 years. Grubman is also one of the founders of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Per Billboard, Mellencamp said, “Allen is Jewish, and I bring that up for one reason: I’m a gentile, and my life has been enriched by countless Jewish people.” In his speech, Mellencamp said, per Variety, “Guys, I cannot tell you how f—ing important it is to speak out if you’re an artist. Whenever you hear hate speech or something derogatory about someone else … We’re all human things. I don’t give a f— if you’re Jewish, Black, quiet, tutti frutti… I don’t care!”
He continued: “Here’s the trick: silence is complicity… I’m standing here tonight loudly and proudly and in solidarity with Allen, his family, all of my Jewish friends and the entire Jewish people of the world. F— Antisemitism and f— anybody who says anything in that manner.”
The singer didn’t mention Kanye West by name, but the rapper has made several antisemitic comments lately. That seems to have inspired other antisemitic displays in recent weeks, including in Florida and in Los Angeles. The Holocaust Museum of Los Angeles says that they have been flooded with antisemitic messages after West rejected their offer to tour their museum. The museum tweeted at West, pointing out that he has over 30 million followers on Twitter, which is more than twice as many Jewish people as there are on earth.
Yahoo! reported that Grubman told reporters, “I had no idea what he was gonna say; he wanted to keep it secret.” He added that the Rock Hall had requested a copy of the notes written for the night to be displayed in the museum.
Besides speaking about Grubman, Mellencamp joined Bruce Springsteen to perform a tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis, who died last month. You can watch an edited version of last night’s induction ceremony on HBO and HBO Max. It will air on Saturday, November 19th at 8 pm ET.