Mason calls Obama ‘schvartze’

NEW YORK (JTA) — Comedian Jackie Mason called President Obama a "schvartze" during a performance in New York, angering some audience members.

The Web site TMZ reported Sunday that Mason used the term, which means "black" in Yiddish but is considered derogatory by some, during a performance at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency in New York City on March 12.

TMZ quoted one audience member as saying, "He’s more offensive to the Jews than Madoff tonight."

"I’m an old Jew. I was raised in a Jewish family where ‘schvartze’ was used," Mason told TMZ. "It’s not a demeaning word and I’m not going to defend myself."

The Rev. Al Sharpton reminded TMZ that in 1991, Mason apologized for calling then-New York mayoral candidate David Dinkins "a fancy schvartze with a mustache."

"At this stage in Jackie’s life and career, he should get our prayers more than our responses," Sharpton told TMZ Sunday.

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