Shamed Marvel Comics artist Ardian Syaf has blamed oversensitive Jewish people for getting him fired, claiming “when Jews are offended, there is no forgiveness”.
Syaf lost his job following reports that he inserted anti-Semitic and anti-Christian references into the first issue of the publication’s latest X-Men comic.
But the artist has remained unapologetic over his dismissal. In an interview with Indonesian newspaper Jawa Pos, the Jakarta-based artist blamed the Jews for his predicament.
“But, Marvel is owned by Disney. When Jews are offended, there is no forgiveness,” he said in Indonesian [translated by Heat Street].
Despite his statement, the artist insists that he isn’t actually racist. He told the newspaper that he was neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Christian because if he was, he wouldn’t have worked for Marvel.
Syaf inserted references to the country’s on-going political turmoil, which saw massive protests against the Governor of Jakarta for his Chinese ethnicity and his Christian religion.
His messages included the number “212,” referencing the date of the largest protest (December 2, 2016) and a reference to an interpretation of the Quran, which declares it un-Islamic to have Jews or Christians as leaders.
The artist also included a coded reference to Jews in a scene featuring the comic’s main character, Kitty Pryde, one of Marvel’s most prominent Jewish heroes.
Following the news, Marvel announced its decision to purge future prints of X-Men Gold #1 of the references.
On Facebook (via Reddit), the artist dismissed claims that his references were in any way bigoted, and made excuses for his actions.
He said that he decided to put “212” in the comic following his attendance of the religious rally, and condemned critics for their ignorance of the subject.
Some critics say that his attempts to whitewash the references are a performance of taqiyya, or dissimulation, which states that one is permitted to conceal or disguise beliefs to non-Muslims under duress.
Further sleuthing by Reddit users prompted the discovery of a now-deleted Facebook post by Syaf, who was photographed with Rizieq Shihab, the leader of the Islamist organization Islamic Defenders Front (known by the acronym FPI).
The group has been involved in numerous acts of violence against non-Muslims in Indonesia, and was one of the organizers of the 212 protest. In the post, Syaf says he accepted an invitation to meet with the group’s founder.
Despite being outed as a supporter of racist and anti-Semitic bigotry, publications like the Univision-owned Gizmodo have declined to condemn Ardian Syaf. Gizmodo writer Beth Elderkin wrote:
“He appears to be in favor of having the governor removed from office and (possibly) prosecuted, which aligns with what the FPI is demanding. But we can’t really assume if he’s in favor of the group itself, or just what they want in this instance, since FPI has done some questionable things over the years.”
Nothing better than soft-peddling violent racism by calling it “questionable” when it doesn’t fit your narrative, I suppose.