NEW YORK -- The leader of the militant black rap group Public Enemy apologized Wednesday for a now-ousted band member's remark that all Jews are 'wicked,' saying, 'We don't stand for hatred.'
'Our job is not to offend anybody,' rapper Chuck D. said, explaining Public Enemy's decision Tuesday to fire its 'minister of information,' Richard 'Professor Griff' Griffin.
Griffin was quoted as saying 'the Jews are wicked and we can prove this' in an article published last month in The Washington Times and excerpted last week in The Village Voice.
His firing came amid growing national furor that included proposed music industry boycotts against the band, which makes a cameo appearance in Spike Lee's controversial new movie, 'Do The Right Thing.'
'The offensive remarks by my brother, Professor Griff, are not in line with Public Enemy's policy at all,' said Chuck D., whose real name is Chuck Ridenhour. 'We're not anti-Jewish or anti-anyone at all. We're pro-black.'
Chuck D. said it would be hypocritical for a members of a minority group opposed to discrimination to voice bias against other groups.
'To use the same mechanism that you're fighting against definitely is wrong,' he said. 'We don't stand for hatred. We're not here to make enemies. We're apologizing to anyone who might be offended by Griff's remarks.'
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, said his organization 'welcomes the decision' to fire Griffin.
'This individial has publicly expressed vicious, anti-Semitic bigotry. We hope that this action by Public Enemy represents a rejection of such sentiments,' Foxman said.
'Racist hatreds have no place in the arts or anywhere else in America.'
Public Enemy is a widely respected black band known for the hits 'Public Enemy No. 1,' 'Terminator X' and 'Rebel Without a Pause.'
Griffin, a follower of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a black separatist also widely accused of anti-Semitism, had opened and closed Public Enemy performances with discussions of the band's political philosophy.
In the controversial interview, Griffin said Jews were responsible for 'the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe,' including oppression of blacks in South Africa.
'Is it a coincidence that the Jews run the jewelry business and it's named JEW-elry. No coincidence,' he was quoted as saying. 'It is a coincidence to you that probably the gold from this ring was brought up out of South Africa, and that the Jews have a tight grip on our brothers in South Africa?
'The Jews are responsible for what's going on in South Africa. You know that. 'You know that America gives aid to Israel ... Israel gives aid and arms to P.W. Botha.'