ADL rejects Gary Oldman’s ‘insufficient’ apology

Advocacy group says actor must understand ‘why his words about Jewish control’ of Hollywood were so damaging

Gary Oldman (Photo credit: CC-BY-SA Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)
Gary Oldman (Photo credit: CC-BY-SA Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)

The Anti-Defamation League said Wednesday that actor Gary Oldman’s apology for remarks he made to Playboy magazine, in which he referenced a Hollywood being “run by Jews” and defended fellow actors Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin for their controversial remarks about Jews and gays, was “insufficient.”

“While his apology may be heartfelt, Mr. Oldman does not understand why his words about Jewish control were so damaging and offensive, and it is therefore insufficient,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement.

Oldman had said in an open letter to the ADL on Tuesday that he was “deeply remorseful” that his comments “were offensive to many Jewish people.” He noted that before the interview he had just finished reading Neal Gabler’s book ‘An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood.’

“Our business,” Oldman said, “owes an enormous debt to that contribution.”

But Foxman said it was exactly the notion that Jewish members of the film industry were in Hollywood as Jews that was problematic.

“They are there acting as individuals,” Foxman said. “They do not pursue a Jewish agenda or strategy. They are there acting as professionals and Americans with skills working alongside many other non-Jews who are also in show business for the same reasons.

“Mr. Oldman needs to recognize that his words, not just as they were written, but as he uttered them, are deeply offensive” Foxman said. “Whether they intend it or not, celebrities act as role models and bear an outsized responsibility for their words and their actions. Oldman needs to make clear not only to the Jewish community but also his fans that his words were predicated on offensive notions and, as such, are clearly unacceptable.”

During the expletive-filled interview, Oldman also decried the “political correctness” that had ensnared fellow actors Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin in their controversial remarks about Jews and gays, respectively. Gibson delivered an anti-Semitic rant in 2006 while being arrested for drunk driving, and he later apologized. Baldwin last year was accused of using an anti-gay slur in a New York City street confrontation.

Oldman said that Gibson “got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things. We’re all fucking hypocrites.” He said he didn’t blame Baldwin for using the slur because somebody bothered him.

“Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him, and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough,” Oldman said in the interview.

AP contributed to this report.

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