‘Dangerous poison’: Obama criticizes celebrities for sharing antisemitic posts online

Despite audience members shouting out "we miss you" and "we love you" when Mr. Obama took the stage, he managed to get his central point across.

 THEN-US PRESIDENT Barack Obama delivers a statement with then-secretary of state John Kerry at his side at the State Department, in 2016. The Biden administration position parrots similar statements by Obama administration officials. (photo credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters)
THEN-US PRESIDENT Barack Obama delivers a statement with then-secretary of state John Kerry at his side at the State Department, in 2016. The Biden administration position parrots similar statements by Obama administration officials.
(photo credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Former president Barack Obama condemned recent antisemitic remarks made by celebrities online while speaking at a campaign rally with Pennsylvania Lt.-Gov. John Fetterman in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Fetterman is running for senate in the upcoming midterm elections. 

"Here's a tip for you: if you read or see something online that has some grand theory about how some particular group...that says 'they're the cause of all your problems, then it's safe to say it's garbage. It is a lie. It is dangerous poison."

Former President Barack Obama

Despite audience members shouting out "we miss you" and "we love you" when Mr. Obama took the stage, he managed to get his central point across, stressing that "this election requires every single one of us to do our part. It's that important." 

He also cited the fact that social media plays a central role in sensationalizing politics and spreading misinformation. "This habit we have of demonizing political opponents, of saying crazy stuff, it creates a dangerous climate." He cited the fact that some politicians online have been joking and making light of the recent attack on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi.

"It's not just politicians...we've seen, recently, big celebrities reposting vile antisemitic conspiracy theories online," added the former President, likely referring to the recent statements made by Kanye West and Kyrie Irving. "And you don't have to be a student of history to realize how dangerous that is," he added. 

 Oct 29, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) steps over Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield (24) after fighting for a loose ball in the second quarter at Barclays Center. (credit: WENDELL CRUZ-USA TODAY SPORTS) Oct 29, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) steps over Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield (24) after fighting for a loose ball in the second quarter at Barclays Center. (credit: WENDELL CRUZ-USA TODAY SPORTS)

Before moving on to his next talking point, the former president gave Pittsburgh some free advice: "Here's a tip for you: if you read or see something online that has some grand theory about how some particular group...that says 'they're the cause of all your problems, then it's safe to say it's garbage. It is a lie. It is dangerous poison."

Dr. Mehmet Oz

In his speech, Obama also touched on the topic of Fetterman's opponent from Pennsylvania, Dr. Mehmet Oz, known best as Dr. Oz from the eponymous television show. Oz has been criticized for a number of his political stances, including his refusal to condemn Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

“You want to lose weight? Take raspberry ketones,’’ Obama said. “If somebody is willing to peddle snake oil to make a buck, then he’s probably willing to sell snake oil to get elected.”