Gary Oldman Apology Blasted as ‘Insufficient’ by ADL

Gary Oldman Racist Remarks
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Amid a storm of controversy over remarks made in an interview with Playboy magazine, actor Gary Oldman has issued an apology.

“I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy Interview were offensive to many Jewish people,” Oldman wrote in an open letter to the Anti-Defamation League late Tuesday. “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.”

The Anti-Defamation League was unimpressed by Oldman’s apology for defending Mel Gibson’s past anti-Semitic comments.

“We have just begun a conversation with his managing producer,” said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the ADL. “At this point, we are not satisfied with what we have received. His apology is insufficient and not satisfactory.”

Foxman amplified those remarks on Wednesday: “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.”

“His reference to the Neal Gabler book he was reading only reinforces the notion that Jewish directors, producers and financiers are there in Hollywood as Jews.  They’re not, and the book does not draw that conclusion.  They are there acting as individuals.  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. And he needs to be sensitive to the fact that other remarks for which he has yet to apologize – including his disparaging remarks about the Pope and about gay people – were also deeply troubling and hurtful to many.”

“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 are predicated on offensive notions and, as such, are clearly unacceptable.”

SEE ALSO: Gary Oldman Blasts Hollywood Politics

In a wide-ranging interview, Oldman was critical of what he described as political correctness run amok in Hollywood. He defended fellow actors Gibson and Alec Baldwin, both of whom have been in hot water for public use of epithets.

In the case of Gibson’s famous 2006 tirade against Jews following his arrest for drunk driving, Oldman noted that the situation was exacerbated because he works “in a town that is run by Jews.”

The Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday condemned Oldman’s “irresponsible remarks.” Oldman responded by saying he was “deeply remorseful.” Read the actor’s full apology below:

Dear Gentlemen of the ADL:

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 hope you will know that this apology is heartfelt, genuine, and that I have an enormous personal affinity for the Jewish people in general, and those specifically in my life. The Jewish People, persecuted thorough the ages, are the first to hear God’s voice, and surely are 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–Gary Oldman.

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  1. BSJ says:

    The dirty little secret here is that everybody knows what Oldman said is true, it’s just nobody is allowed to say it. As Voltaire said, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

    • Jamie says:

      Voltaire never made any such comment. It was made by a Bircher- style conspiracy theorist named Kevin Stromm in 1993.

      Voltaire’s work was funded by the largess and patronage of the ruling classes. There was absolutely no way he’d be biting that hand.

    • Oldman is a celebrity, so he is held to a standard higher than a run of the mill racist. Just what groups do you think he could’ve disparaged without drawing a storm of criticism? Blacks? Gays? Muslims? Mexicans? I guess we’re ruled over by lots of different groups, according to you and Voltaire (if Voltaire actually said this).

  2. Harvan, do you think Oldman would’ve gotten away with making disparaging remarks about blacks? Gays? Muslims? You’re just looking for an excuse to criticize Jews. We’ve been encountering your spiritual disease of anti-Semitism for centuries. It’s much worse than anything Gary Oldman said.

  3. Even if Jews are prevalent in Hollywood, who cares? They have a right to pursue whatever careers they want. So they’re creative and they enjoy the movie business, writing, acting, producing, directing; they don’t need anyone’s permission or quotas. Jews are also disproportionately represented in medicine, law, literature, music and other fields. That is hardly a cause for vilification and don’t expect an apology!

  4. Nalah, you must understand the meaning of “chosen.” Chosen is about responsibility, not superiority. Here’s an article by a rabbi which delves into the topic and addresses your very concerns: I’m reminded of the concept of “jihad,” which is meant to be a quest for self-improvement, but is misunderstood (even by some Muslims) as a call for war. Stuff gets lost in the translation and, uh, misunderstandings arise.

  5. Gary Katz says:

    ADL stands for “Anti-Defamation League.” How else should they respond? Their purpose is to respond! Would you criticize the NAACP for attacking Oldman if he had make some unflattering remark pigeonholing African Americans? When someone (you, for instance) says something awful about Jews, I suppose we could just shuffle our feet and look down at the sidewalk, saying nothing and hoping it will all just go away. That approach worked out well in Nazi Germany, during the 1930s, didn’t it?

  6. Alan says:

    Once personal opinion and the right to have your own beliefs were sacrosanct in the western world. Surely this is what set us apart from some of the regimes that we have fought against in the past, so why is it that the ADL and other similar organisations are allowed to subvert these basic rights? Not allowing belief and opinions that different from your own is, at best, simply an act of propaganda but at worst what the ADL are doing could be considered an act of fascism. Every time someone apologises for daring to utter their own beliefs we are put back and our personal rights are harmed. I’ve always had great respect for Gary Oldman but now I find that I am a little ashamed of him as a countryman, whether he was right or wrong is not as important as his right to say what he believes. People may consider his words “hate speech” but what could be more hateful that denying people the right to have their own beliefs and opinions? Any organisation that does not stand up for the rights of the individual is a hate organisation regardless of that individuals race, creed or beliefs, it is as plain and simple as that.

  7. The Anti-Defamation League can go screw themselves, I’m tired of political correctness, this is a free country is it not, if I have to be subjected to gay/lesbian crap shoved in my face and deal with it, than they can deal with our crap and just shut it!

  8. jasonjrf says:

    OMFG come on people can we be any more sensative what happened to free speech and being able to think differently

  9. nimportequoi says:

    Look at it this way,he need some publicity to get back in the eye of the public, and guess what – he just got it big!!! Pressing buttons…

  10. Caleb says:

    But it’s still okay to shit on Black people and call them niggers. No apologies for that. Gotcha.

  11. John Roth says:

    A lot of the comments here appear to support the notion that being anti-bigotry is “politically correct”. That kind of person usually gets their knickers in a twist about “freedom of speech” as they mistakenly believe it means “I can say anything hateful I want to”.

    Oldman is a tool. First, he shows his true, cantankerous colours in a misjudged interview then he profers his lily-livered apology in an attempt to save face.

  12. Shelley says:

    I can see both sides of this issue. I strongly defend Mr. Oldman’s right to speak his mind. I also have been following the comments on the issue on a wide variety of sources and the level of hate that is being directed at the Jewish community is alarming. I’ve lost count of how many people have made public their wish for the extermination of the Jewish people and issued active threats of violence. Mr. Oldman, I wish you would take some time today and read some of them. You helped inflame this demonic hate by your thoughtlessness. To make matters worse, 20th Century Fox has declined to comment on the issue. Silence speaks volumes folks. Fox executives, you may decline to stand up against anti-Semitism, misogyny and homophobia. That is your right. But remember I can take the money I would have spent on theater tickets or Netflicks and go buy and a good book instead. I’m sure Amazon will thank you.

  13. 1favored says:

    We are at a place where a handout is needed for what is politically correct to say, and our deep,private, and personal thoughts should remain in the closet. You can change laws, but not mandate what is in the heart. An opinion only carries the weight we give it.

  14. MagicalMe says:

    This entire thing is ridiculous. You have to look at it from Gary’s point of view: He’s a former drug addict and alcoholic. He, more than most, understands what it’s like to be judged based on the terrible things you say or do while under the influence, and what it’s like to spend your entire life making up for it. Robert Downey, Jr. supports Mel for similar reasons. The only difference between Mel, Robert, Gary and hundreds of others in Hollywood is that Mel was recorded while saying those things. It’s not that those types of things are never said, it’s merely that he was caught doing it. It’s hypocrisy at its finest.

    Hollywood has long tried to brand themselves as being very tolerant, yet is extraordinarily choosy about who deserves said tolerance. We can’t talk crap about Jews or gays, but we can say crap about pretty much everyone else.

    How does a guy like Polanski, who raped a 13 year old girl, get back into the good books (if he ever really left) of Hollywood so thoroughly that he receives a standing ovation from from of the entertainment industry’s best and brightest, but a guy like Mel, who while in the throes of his addiction made terrible comments and choices, is never forgiven? Why does a pedophile get a free pass but an angry drunk does not?

    And to say that Jews don’t run Hollywood is like saying Mormons don’t run Utah. They may be acting as individuals but they all identify with one culture. It’s not about it being good or bad or right or wrong–it just is. There’s even a book about it, written by a Jewish man. Everyone knows that there is a huge Jewish influence in Hollywood, but for some reason we’re not allowed to talk about it because it’s politically incorrect.

    Gary Oldman is not a bigot and never has been–but we, in our addition to indignation, have to brand him as such just because he didn’t use the right words officially chosen by the PC Police. How ridiculous our society has become.

  15. Rob says:

    Gary gave a heartfelt and beautiful apology just for speaking his mind, which is his right under the First Amendment, recognising Jewish success in Hollywood and them as the chosen people who have the ear of God. It was close to poetry or even a love letter. What more do the ADL want?

    This seems very uncharitable and to be honest more than a little high-handed and even arrogant. Will they demand an apology from the Jewish guy who wrote that superb book about the Jews and Hollywood, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood.

  16. The Infected says:

    HMMM! Maybe if I revised the American Heritage Dictionary to remove any words that could offend our thin skinned society it wouldn’t amount to 24 pages and I thought previously. It is disheartening that Hollywood has a bone to pick with anyone of any race or ethnicity and being heterosexual solely for thinking there is such a thing as free speech.

    Please look for my new book coming this fall, You Might Be a Racist IF!

  17. RF says:

    Gary Oldman is an angry bigoted schmuck. I am Jewish, a woman, and I am outraged at his remarks.

  18. Martin Smith says:

    It is really re-assuring to know that some of Mr Oldmans best friends are Jewish.
    I would like to sign of with “up yours Mr Oldman” but I wouldn’t wish to be offensive to the fool.

  19. Dale Palmetto says:

    Who cares! If I had a recording device in my car while driving the 5, 405, and 134, every single race, gender and human on this Earth would be offended. Since when can we not speak our minds. I don’t believe I’m the only person in this world that says random things when I’m annoyed or angry. It’s ridiculous for people to be judged by one word. We don’t know these people, we have no idea who they really are.

    • Kristen says:

      Good for you, Dale Palmetto, for at least keeping your racism private and having the decency not to put it in an interview for dissemination to the public.

  20. Jeff says:

    it’s funny how Hollywood has made a fortune off of Mel Gibson and not the other way around!

  21. Colin Wright says:

    ‘Insufficient.’ And here I was having concluded that Oldman’s apology was so over the top and blatantly exaggerated that it could only be taken as sarcasm.

    • ‘Insufficient’ is one group’s way of saying “we would like to take control of the situation by being the victim and, as a result, gain the power to point the finger at another in an authoritative manner. By pointing out your wrong we become right.

      !#@! I hate humans sometimes.

  22. newscale62 says:

    Nice try, Gary. Your branding just took the same hit has Mel’s.

  23. Craig says:

    To bad Gary had to do a 180. I got it. If they didn’t like your apology try this next time. “Blah…..Blah Blah………Blah.. You want my opinion? Go ahead ask the internet. Great actor,great interview. Being frank and direct is still a redeeming quality.

  24. Archie says:

    When in this interview did he offend women ,black People and gays ???

    • Tonya says:

      He called women the C-word, Blacks the N-word and gays the F-word but since he thinks “Jews run Hollywood” he decided only to apologize to Jews so he can keep working.

  25. MJ says:

    Good! This was a sarcastic apology and anybody with half a brain could see it. Oh and Oldman we are waiting for an apology to women, black people and gay people, you bigoted git.

  26. allosaur says:

    So what else is Oldman supposed to do? Stick a knife in his guts and cut out a square?

    • josh says:

      He should acknowledge he’s a bigot and take steps to deal with it, such as talking to the ADL directly and learning about the horrors of prejudice
      and hatred. It won’t happen because he’s another wealthy, spoiled, entitled loser who thinks his fame gives him license to be an ass.

      • Dale Palmetto says:

        Sounds like you know Gary quiet well Josh. How long have you known him? Unless, unless you’re saying this without any foundation at all. That would look bad, wouldn’t it! So enlighten us on your relationship with Gary Oldman.

      • mark n ostein says:

        No he shouldn’t and no he isn’t.

  27. Stan says:

    “Dear Gentlemen” Talk about un-pc. Are there no females in the ADL?

  28. Apology – Schmology

  29. Let’s keep the camera on the money–hypocrisy–that’s the subject and the context..It never felt like Oldman approved of the bad behavior, just said he identified with it, big difference..Our industry REALLY has bigger fish to fry than this..

  30. That’s a horrible letter. I’m not Jewish or gay, but I am human.

    While Gary Oldman had a valid point in his comments to Playboy, he chose to make the same mistakes the people he was defending had done. And he assumed the audience for that article largely agreed with him that racist tyrades like Gibson’s and calling someone a ‘fag’ are dismisable as legitimate expressions of anger and frustration. They are not.

    Jonah Hill and most remarkably Justin Beiber recently demonstrated the proper way to handle offending people unintentionally. It’s rather bad when older veterans such as Gary Oldman, Alec Baldwin, and Mel Gibson have a lot to learn from adolescents.

  31. Ben Grego says:

    Context, people, context…….and what he says is TRUE………..period……..we laugh at the McCarthy era; what the hell do you think we are in right now? only involving race, etc…….same damn thing……We will NEVER learn,,,,,,,,,never!!!

    Gary Oldman has every right to his opinions; too bad they were taken out of context…..that aside, he is one of our most talented and underrated actors………… right on, Mr. Oldman!!!!!!!! Sorry you had to backpedal…… should have stuck to your guns but I don’t wanna judge you!!! good luck and keep on truckin’ as the old saying goes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • sammyglick says:

      Please, today’s political debates are not even close to how terrifying the McCarthy Era truly was. People lost their entire careers due to ‘whispers’ behind closed doors, very public Congressional hearings and the whims of Hollywood power brokers such as John Wayne and Hedda Hopper. What Mr. Oldman said was insensitive, stupid and bigoted. Of course he deserves to be condemned in the public market place of ideas! If he can’t take the heat, maybe he shouldn’t have made such a hateful cake.

  32. Jacques Strappe says:

    What a tool. Great career move, Gary. Bite the hands that employ you. I used to think you were an interesting person. Now, not so much. Sure, put all these outrageous comments in print, too–it’s not like print is permanent or your quotes were quoted verbatim out of context. I mean,who would defend looney, antisemitic, girl friend beater, Gibson who is a lost cause? Oldman’s Hollywood double standards argument was full of so many bad comparisons/examples that didn’t hold up under scrutiny. Most everyone can be accused of double standards from time to time, upon close examination. Liberals don’t generally support anyone of any political ideology using any racial or homophobic slurs outside of their own race or sexuality. Bill Maher is a social and political humorist; he is decidedly not everyone’s cup of tea among all conservatives and some liberals but he is a humorist, nonetheless who uses lots of sexually vulgar language in his schtick, not unlike Lenny Bruce. While I am not totally comfortable with the use of the “c” word, I find it infinitely more tolerable than any racial slurs like the “N” word or homophobic ones like the “f” word. And yes, gays and blacks can freely use these words to empower themselves–I take little issue in those cases, so perhaps that is my double standard.

    • HHGeek says:

      I’m so glad you’re “not totally comfortable” with the use of the ‘c’ word. Given that it’s slang for the female genitalia, and is routinely used as pretty much the worst insult possible for anyone of any gender, colour, religion, etc., that’s good to know. There is NO equivalent insult using terms for male genitalia – all the latter tend to be used disparagingly at worst, more often almost affectionately. None of them causes significant offence.

      So on behalf of women, everywhere – all colours, and all creeds – please continue to be at least slightly uncomfortable with the use of the ‘c’ word. Because until we women actually achieve any power of note, we’ll still be considerably lower on the importance scale than any (first world) non-white, non-Christian, LGBT, or other supposedly minority representation. And use of the ‘c’ word only emphasises that nastiness.

    • SOWHAT says:

      Oh, they were very clear about ending his career all right. They will see to it that he is effectively blackballed in Hollywood. Did you miss this? How would you feel if an organization called your boss? “We have just begun a conversation with his managing producer,” said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the ADL. “At this point, we are not satisfied with what we have received. His apology is insufficient and not satisfactory.”

  33. Contessa46 says:

    The essence of what he said may be true but try linking it to I divi duals you have a problem with–not all the Jewish people of the world! And Hollywood gave Mr Gibson a career-who bites the hand that feeds them deserves to have their food taken away–regardless of their religion–business 101!

    • bob says:

      You’re right. We should do away with fences at the zoo too, as it is offensive – not ALL bears will bite humans, so judging them based on the norm is just bigoted.

    • Bud Mor says:

      Hollywood didn’t give Gibson a career. Most of what Hollywood produces is crap. Gibson’s talent is what got him a career.
      The “bites the hand” argument is a terrible argument. It is a justification and encouragement to be a yes-man regardless of the truth.
      The condemnation of Gibson is not based on a “bites the hand” argument. It is based on racism.
      The “bites the hand” argument would mean that it is okay to criticize groups who are not dominant in Hollywood.

  34. Jimmy Zuma says:

    A “sorry for how you took it” apology isn’t the same as an “I said something I don’t believe” apology.

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