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Anti-Defamation League Blasts Gary Oldman’s ‘Prejudiced’ Comments

Gary Oldman said in a remarkably unfiltered Playboy interview this week that he’s not too keen on the language police. Well, it didn’t take long for the Anti-Defamation League, a branch of the language police, to condemn Oldman’s “anti-Semitic” and “prejudiced” remarks in defense of Mel Gibson. (UPDATE: Oldman’s response below.)

Among other things, Oldman addressed Gibson’s arrest and public shaming, bemoaning the “political correctness” surrounding what he said. He said, “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.”

Oldman also suggested there are plenty of Jewish people who say nasty things about others behind closed doors and they’re hypocrites for condemning Gibson.

In response, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman issued a statement condemning and scolding Oldman for his comments.

“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.”

Update- 8:35 p.m.: Oldman issued a statement to the ADL apologizing for those particular remarks. Here’s his statement in full:

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.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac