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.”
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.