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July 14, 2021 2:42 pm

Podcast Host and Fashion Designer Accused of Antisemitism for Rant Against Jews, Calling Guest ‘Jewish American Princess’

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Recho Omondi, left, during her first conversation in October 2019 with Leandra Medine Cohen for “The Cutting Room Floor.” Photo: Screenshot.

Podcast host and womenswear designer Recho Omondi has come under fire for making offensive comments about Jews during a recent episode of her podcast.

The Anti-Defamation League said on Tuesday that Omondi should apologize for using her podcast, “The Cutting Room Floor,” to “perpetuate antisemitic tropes about American Jews.” It added, “The lack of apology & quiet erasing of the problematic content is troubling. We call on Omondi to issue an apology for the harm her words caused.”

In the one-hour-plus episode that aired on July 7, Omondi hosted guest Leandra Medine Cohen, the Jewish founder of the now-defunct fashion website Man Repeller. Cohen had stepped down from her leadership position and closed the website in June 2020, after facing backlash for firing a Black employee before that year’s racial justice protests.

Near the beginning of Thursday’s podcast episode, Omondi, who is Black, falsely accused Jews of contributing to racism in the United States from the time of its founding, JTA reported. She said, “This country was founded by racist white men — and for the purpose of this episode it’s important to note that many of those white men, slaveowners, etc., were also Jewish and also saw Blacks as less than human.”

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Omondi’s interview with Medine Cohen began shortly after, during which the Jewish fashionista talked about feeling as if she was raised poor and “on the brink of being homeless” on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and only realizing around the age of 30 that she had in fact lived a wealthy and privileged life. During the last few minutes of the episode, Medine Cohen began talking about antisemitism, but the interview abruptly ended and Omondi shared her own thoughts about Medine Cohen.

“I couldn’t stomach another white assimilated Jewish American Princess who is wildly privileged but thinks she’s oppressed,” Omondi reportedly said, according to JTA. “At the end of the day you guys are going to get your nose jobs and your keratin treatments and change your last name from Ralph Lifshitz to Ralph Lauren and you will be fine.”

As of Wednesday, those comments no longer appeared in a version of the episode available on Apple’s major podcast app. The fashion website The Cut confirmed that Omondi edited out the antisemitic remarks from the episode and wrote on Instagram: “I want to recognize that I understand Leandra does not represent ALL Jewish people or the vast culture whatsoever. If I see any mean-spirited hate for the sake of hate towards Jewish people on this account, you did not listen to the episode or are missing the point completely. And you will be BLOCKED. BLOCKED. BLOCKED.”

Omondi added in a separate Instagram post, “I want to be clear that it’s not my intention to stir up any hate or trolling from this epsiode [sic]. I welcome critical & constructive thoughts though.”

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