Chad Brownlee Apologizes For Promoting Conspiracy Theory

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Canadian country singer Chad Brownlee has apologized after being called out for promoting a right-wing conspiracy theory on social media that some viewed as racist and anti-Semitic.

"I sincerely apologize for sharing an image last night on social media that was wrong, inappropriate and could be perceived as racist," he tweeted late Wednesday afternoon. "While my intention in posting the image was nothing of the sort, I acknowledge how people could easily have seen it that way."

The 35-year-old B.C. native shared a Photoshopped image of billionaire George Soros looking over a chess board in a game between anti-racism protesters and COVID-19. The post was later deleted.

When someone asked Brownlee why he posted the photo, Brownlee responded: “It represents the massive level of manipulation that surrounds us. It’s meant to cause you to ask questions which you’ve done and I appreciate. It’s also highly controversial which I’m aware of. It’s an example that chess pieces are being moved.”

The singer told someone else: "Just the deepest layers of deception. This man plays a massive role in what the media puts out and how protests are televised. Awareness of this power structure is key if we want to start to understand the pieces that are being moved around us.”

There is, of course, no evidence that Soros is funding the protests that were sparked by the death of George Floyd. (“We deplore the false notion that the people taking to the streets to express their anguish are paid, by George Soros or anyone else,” a spokesperson for Soros told The New York Times.)

Canadian music mogul Jonathan Simkin said he was “horrified” to see Brownlee’s tweet. “He took a page right out of the Nazi playbook, and on Blackout Tuesday, yet.”

Simkin tweeted: “Blackout Tuesday was supposed to be a day to acknowledge, contemplate and protest racism in all forms. And to inspire change. Some people, however, used it to promote bulls**t anti-semitic conspiracy theories. Hey @ChadBrownlee . When are you going to issue an apology for this?”

He later said that Brownlee started following him on Twitter. “I will be right here. Calling you out on your anti-semitic bulls**t.”

Donovan Woods shared: “This is a country singer I’ve written songs for in the past. You can rest assured that I won’t be doing that again.”

Singer-songwriter Lindsay Graves tweeted: “Hey, Canadian country peeps. Please don’t support Chad Brownlee. I didn’t know he was like this, but I just smashed that unfollow button real hard.”

Jenn Steele, who works in the music industry, tweeted that she unfollowed Brownlee and was deleting his music. “That’s horribly disheartening,” she wrote.

"I abhor racism, certainly including anti-Semitism," Brownlee wrote in his apology. "Sadly, I didn't spur the conversation I wanted to. My effort was clumsy and wrong-headed. For all those I hurt or offended I am deeply sorry."

The Photoshopped image Brownlee tweeted was created using a Pixabay photo from 2015. It remains in a tweet by "@trackrat591" with the caption: "Black Lives Matter is funded by George Soros. Wake up America. Pawn = A person or thing manipulated and used by others, or a game piece in the game of chess."

This article has been updated since it was first published.