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John Mellencamp Implores Artists to Speak Out Against Antisemitism at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: ‘Silence Is Complicity’ 

"I'm standing here tonight loudly and proudly and in solidarity with all of my Jewish friends and all the entire Jewish people of the world.

John Mellencamp
David Buchan/Variety

To great applause, John Mellencamp took the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame stage to introduce attorney Allen Grubman and used the opportunity to decry antisemitism and implore his fellow artists “to speak out against all forms bigotry and hatred.”

Grubman, Mellencamp’s longtime attorney, was inducted in the Hall of Fame with the Ahmet Ertegun award, recognizing his decades of work in the music business. Mellencamp has been a client since 1982.

Mellencamp described himself as a “gentile” who took to heart the hateful rhetoric being directed at Jewish people in the wake of remarks make by Kanye West, who now goes by Ye. While Mellencamp didn’t name the rapper, it was clear his anger was directed at the Antisemitic tropes he helped circulate.

Said Mellencamp: “Guys I cannot tell you how fucking 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 fuck if you’re Jewish, Black, quiet, tutti frutti, I don’t care! 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. Fuck Antisemitism and fuck anybody who says anything in that manner.”

Grubman, who Mellencamp described as a “true mensch,” later revealed to reporters that he was not clued into the speech in advance. “I had no idea what he was gonna say; he wanted to keep it secret,” said Grubman, adding that the Rock Hall had requested a copy of the notes written for the night to be displayed in the museum.

Allen Grubman Christopher Polk for Variety