British actor Gary Oldman is “deeply remorseful” after inflammatory remarks he made in the June/July issue of Playboy magazine earned him a tongue-lashing from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
On Monday, snippets of Oldman’s chat with the men’s mag made their way online, quickly sparking a debate over discrimination and hate speech in Hollywood. The conservative Call of Duty actor championed himself as a crusader against political correctness and defended his on-screen contemporaries — Alec Baldwin and Mel Gibson, in particular — who have been publicly spurned in recent years for racist, homophobic and/or anti-Semitic rants.
“We’ve all said those things…I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things. We’re all f**king hypocrites. That’s what I think about it. The policeman who arrested him has never used the word n**ger or that f**king Jew? I’m being brutally honest here. It’s the hypocrisy of it that drives me crazy…I’m defending all the wrong people. I’m saying Mel’s all right, Alec’s a good guy.”
Oldman denied that he’s a bigot himself (Riiight), but that wasn’t enough to keep the ADL and the Simon Weisenthal Center from launching a public attack against the screen veteran. Both organizations were especially angered by Gary’s controversial assertion that Hollywood “is a town that’s run by Jews.” Abraham H. Foxman, Director of the ADL, took Oldman to task for that comment, which he calls an aging stereotype that continues to contribute to anti-Semitic attitudes in America.
“Gary Oldman’s remarks irresponsibly feed into a classic anti-Semitic canard about supposed Jewish control of Hollywood and the film industry. He should know better than to repeat and give credence to tired anti-Semitic tropes. Mel Gibson’s ostracization in Hollywood was not a matter of being ‘politically incorrect,’ as Mr. Oldman suggests, but of paying the consequences for outing himself as a bigot and a hater. It is disturbing that Mr. Oldman appears to have bought into Mr. Gibson’s warped and prejudiced world view.”
The words seemed to hit home for Gary. (Or maybe he just doesn’t want this big stink cutting into his summer blockbuster numbers. After all, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, hits theaters on July 11.)
“I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy Interview were offensive to many Jewish people. Upon reading my comments in print — I see how insensitive they may be and how they may indeed contribute to the furtherance of a false stereotype. Anything that contributes to this stereotype is unacceptable, including my own words on the matter. If, during the interview, I had been asked to elaborate on this point I would have pointed out that I had just finished reading Neal Gabler’s superb book about the Jews and Hollywood, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood. The fact is that our business, and my own career specifically, owes an enormous debt to that contribution…I would like to sign off with “Shalom Aleichem” — but under the circumstances, perhaps today I lose the right to use that phrase, so I will wish you all peace–Gary Oldman.”