Gary Oldman Apologizes to the Jewish Community After Playboy Interview Remarks

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The actor, who gave a controversial interview to the magazine in which he defended Mel Gibson’s 2006 anti-Semitic rant, has written a letter of contrition to the Anti-Defamation League; Abraham Foxman, ADL national director: “We are not satisfied”.

Gary Oldman / Getty

 

Within 48 hours of Playboy magazine publishing its controversial interview with Gary Oldman, the actor has apologized for the anti-Semitic statements that he made during the conversation.

In a letter to the Anti-Defamation League, Oldman said he was “deeply remorseful” for his comments about Mel Gibson, which the ADL said perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes.

“I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy Interview were offensive to many Jewish people, ” Oldman said. “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.”

Oldman closed by noting that his apology is “heartfelt” and “genuine, ” while also expressing his “enormous personal affinity for the Jewish people, in general”, and those specifically in his life. He even called Jews “surely the chosen people.”

“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, ” he wrote.

Oldman gave an expletive-filled interview to promote his new film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which was published in Tuesday’s edition of Playboy. In the story, the actor denounced the “political correctness” that has hurt the careers of fellow actors Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin, while defending Gibson’s infamous drunken rant against the Jews, and empathizing with Baldwin, who reportedly hurled an anti-gay slur at a photographer.

“I don’t know about Mel, ” Oldman said in the interview. “He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things. We’re all fucking hypocrites. That’s what I think about it. The policeman who arrested him has never used the word ‘nigger’ or ‘that fucking Jew’? I’m being brutally honest here. It’s the hypocrisy of it that drives me crazy. Or maybe I should strike that and say ‘the N word’ and ‘the F word, ‘ though there are two F words now.”

He went on to add of Gibson’s past anti-Semitism, claiming that “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 sent the letter to the ADL, which was obtained by Deadline, following a condemnation by the organization.

“Gary Oldman’s remarks irresponsibly feed into a classic anti-Semitic canard about supposed Jewish control of Hollywood and the film industry, ” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a release. “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.”

In addition to the ADL, Oldman’s comments had drawn a sharp response from Jewish leaders, such as Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

“Gary Oldman wants Jews to ‘get over’ what Mel Gibson said. But what Gibson said was the slogan that Adolf Hitler used to murder six million Jews”, he said in a statement to The Associated Press.

After receiving his letter of remorse, ADL’s Foxman commented he wasn’t fully persuaded by the actor’s attempt to make amends. “We have just began a conversation with his managing producer. At this point, we are not satisfied with what we received. His apology is insufficient and not satisfactory”, he said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

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