American-Jewish producer Jason Blum was booed and physically removed from the stage of the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles after he accused US President Donald Trump of fomenting rising anti-Semitism in the United States.
Blum was onstage at the Steve Tisch Cinema Center, Saban Theater on Tuesday evening being honored with the festival’s Achievement in Film & Television Award.
“The good thing about this country is that you get to like Trump, but I don’t have to and I don’t like him,” Blum said, according to Deadline. “We have a president who calls the press the enemy of the people. Thanks to our president, anti-Semitism is on the rise.”
Blum was booed and heckled during his speech. Some members of the audience walked out, while others yelled “get off the stage” and “we like Donald,” Deadline reported.
As Blum continued speaking, a festival organizer came on stage and called for security as an audience member appeared to pull down Blum, leading to others jumping on the stage to assist him. After insisting that “you are going to have to drag me off the stage,” Blum exited.
The Israeli Film Festival is sponsored by the Adelson Foundation, the charitable organization established by Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a major giver to Republican candidates ahead of Tuesday’s elections as well as to Trump in his run for the presidency. The Hollywood Reporter is a co-sponsor of the event.
Israeli director Avi Nesher, who received the Cinematic Achievement Award, also addressed the current political situation.
“Americans [also] have their issues with some of the political leadership in this country,” Nesher said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “I, too, am an American citizen, and I, too, am worried about the state of affairs in this country. My parents are immigrants — twice, once to Israel and once to this country. I have been observing with horror the hate mongering which has become the order of the day for the American administration, and the Israeli one. That’s why we make movies. To entertain, but also to think.”
Festival director and founder Meir Fenigstein told The Hollywood Reporter that “this is the first time we have ever experienced anything like this, and I am in total shock, but I understand that this is a very tense day in America with the elections. This is not the place for politics and I remain apolitical.”
Sadly it is not a good idea to mix Politics with the arts! #JasonBlum Founder & CEO of BlumHouse Productions spoiled the night at the 32nd @Israel Film Festival Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו! He had to be forcefully removed from Stage! He started to put down our @POTUS @RealDonaldTrump AND tried to blame him for antisemitism then majority of crowd started Booing and then started to leave the theatre at Saban Theatre! Sean Hannity @SeanHannity Tucker Carlson Tonight Daniel Scavino Jr.
Posted by Dr. Estella Sneider on Tuesday, 6 November 2018
Blum later tweeted the speech he had planned to give, in which he said, in part: “Those election results are pouring in as I speak. And so much is on the line. The past two years have been hard for all of us who cherish the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of this country. The sense of community that has bound us together for generations is all but gone.”
I was honored by the Israel film festival tonight and, unfortunately was not allowed to finish the speech I was trying to give. Here is the message…
— Jason Blum (@jason_blum) November 7, 2018