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ADL Letter to E! Entertainment, re Hitler Parody on "Chelsea Lately"

July 16, 2014

Suzanne Kolb
E! Networks
5750 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA  90036 

Dear Ms. Kolb:

We have received many complaints about the July 14 episode of Chelsea Lately, in which Chuy Bravo appears in a Hitler costume.  Many of the show’s “jokes” revolved around Mr. Bravo being dressed as the violently anti-Semitic dictator and the fact that Germany was the victor in the recent World Cup soccer match. 

While we try to give comedians leeway and do not believe that Nazi jokes should be completely off-limits, this was an instance of taking a Hitler parody to the extreme. It was tasteless, offensive and hurtful both to Holocaust survivors and their families and to members of the German team and all Germans. 

Recently, as Germany’s team won several key games during the World Cup matches, we witnessed an outpouring of tasteless and offensive Hitler and Nazi comments on social media.  Chelsea Handler’s jokes only played into this environment of trivializing what happened during the Holocaust. This trend only seems to be getting worse as time passes and as Holocaust survivors and memory of what really happened during World War II dwindles. 

We were also disturbed by the show ending with Mr. Bravo flippantly telling the audience that he was dressed as Hitler as a joke and wanted everyone to know that Hitler was “a terrible man” and that he “loves Jews.” This mock apology underscores that those who wrote this sketch do not understand why using a Hitler costume for cheap laughs is in bad taste. 

We strongly that believe Chelsea Handler owes her viewers an on-air apology for a sketch that simply went too far. 

Sincerely,

Abraham H. Foxman
National Director

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