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Actor Michael Rapaport Tags Martin Luther King As ‘Zionist’; Says He Would Have Been ‘Canceled’ If Was Still Alive

BY Abena Dzaka January 19, 2024 8:35 PM EDT
Photo Credit: Facebook @Janet Mami Takayama and @Tyson Ban Yahawadah

Following the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Friends actor Michael Rapaport has come under fire for his comments regarding the pioneer of the American civil rights movement.

Rapaport shared a video on both Instagram and X featuring King endorsing Israel’s existence on the day honoring the latter’s life. The caption read:

“CANCEL THIS ZIONIST TODAY!!!! Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a #ZIONIST, and there’s no doubt he would be canceled if he were alive today!!!”

Rapaport faced harsh criticism from social media users shortly after making his remarks, which quickly backfired. Many criticized him for misrepresenting MLK in the comments section of his post, with some seriously questioning whether MLK would have approved of genocide or the killing of civilians on either side had he been alive.

Michael Rapaport shared clips of MLK speaking out in support of Israel and the Jewish community on Instagram. In the first video, King stated during an interview in 1967 that:

“The whole world must see that Israel must exist, has the right to exist, and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.”

The second clip that Michael Rapaport posted showcased King giving a speech in which he proclaimed:

“If my Jewish brothers and sisters said to me amid antisemitism anywhere, ‘We don’t need your support; we have enough Jewish power to deal with this problem ourselves’, I would still take a stand against antisemitism because it’s wrong, it’s unjust, and it’s evil.”

Rapaport is well-known for playing supporting roles in several films and TV shows. But his most famous role worldwide is from his brief appearance on Friends as Gary, Phoebe’s ex-boyfriend. Gary’s famous gunshot of a bird marked the end of that made-up relationship.

In addition, he has starred in some noteworthy motion pictures and television shows, including Sully, Prison Break, Higher Learning, Atypical, Tru Romance, The War at Home, Only Murders in the Building, and others.

Not one to back down from controversy, Rapaport also admitted to beating his ex-girlfriend, the well-known actress Lili Taylor, in 1997.