Madonna rarely, if ever, fucks up in her career decisions. That’s how she’s managed to stick around for so long despite those who like to spout and seethe the only condemnation they can think of: “She’s old.” But yes, like any human, she’s bound to make a mistake now and again. The last major one was, arguably, “Hey You,” that single to benefit Live Earth back in 2007 that no one talks about/tries to forget ever happened. Depending on the person you ask, fan or otherwise, some might also try to proffer W./E. as the most recent example of an artistic failing in Madonna’s work. And the prudish will still maintain that the Sex book was the worse thing she released. But nothing she has ever done, collaboration-wise, has caused such offense as being pictured with The Fat Jewish.
For those not aware, this toadish braided fellow addressed to some as Josh Ostrovsky has long been notorious for his blatant ripping off of other comedians and Instagram accounts for his own so-called “work.” As humorist Maura Quint has said of his fame, built on the backs of other, more creative entertainers, “The more people see him as a success, the more people will want to follow in his filth-covered footsteps. His ‘brand’ is theft.”
Madonna herself has been accused in her time of “stealing,” i.e. grafting of the moment pop culture trends (chiefly, vogueing) and incorporating them into her own work. But never has she outrightly stolen a piece of work from someone without either 1) crediting them or 2) having enough faith in the intelligence of her audience to know who the art originally hailed from (like the Tamara de Lempickas in the “Open Your Heart” video). Moreover, her level of fame isn’t something that can be created solely off of Instagram memes as, well, she’s simply more talented than that. All Ostrovsky has is a wine label and an account of ill-begotten images.
While she’s tapped funny men in the past for her projects, including Mike Meyers as Austin Powers for the “Beautiful Stranger” video and a then largely unknown to the U.S. Ali G for the “Music” video, The Fat Jewish is neither humorous so much as obnoxious, nor a person that will enhance Madonna’s own image, which is generally what she looks for when poaching someone to appear with her in any frame (Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Stevie Wonder, etc.). Although The Fat Jewish has attempted to make amends for his plagiarism by retroactively crediting those he stole from on Instagram, an artistic bandit is an artistic bandit–and the last person Madonna should align herself with, particularly for promoting MDNA Skin, her forthcoming to the U.S. skincare brand that really ought to have someone a bit higher caliber representing it. After all, these are La Mer prices, and no jank ass follower of The Fat Jewish, nor consumer of his White Girl Rosé partnership with the once beloved Babe Walker, is going to be the audience Madonna wants to target for this endeavor. In truth, an ideal co-spokesperson would have been Isabelle Huppert or Helen Mirren. Then again, maybe Madonna does know what she’s doing as Americans haven’t enough sense of aplomb to appreciate these women when they could be presented with a literal cur to sell them on a product instead.