New York, NY, July 16, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said a Hitler parody during the July 14 episode of “Chelsea Lately” was “tasteless, offensive and hurtful to Holocaust survivors” and to the German people. During the program, host Chelsea Handler made repeated references to Germany’s victory in the World Cup with jokes referencing the Nazi dictator and the Holocaust and traded quips and barbs with her sidekick, Chuy, who appeared dressed in a Hitler costume.
When Chuy made his appearance on stage, Handler asked him why he was dressed like Hitler. He responded, “because Germany won the World Cup.” This led into a series of comments and “jokes” and prompted one of the panelists on the program to remark, “I’m a Jew, but I’m still glad Germany won. It’s nice for them to have something gold that they didn’t pry out of my grandfather’s mouth.”
Before leaving the stage, Chuy remarked: “I am dressed as Hitler as a joke but I want everyone to know that I was a terrible man. I love Jews. Good night.”
“This Hitler parody in itself was tasteless, but Chelsea Handler’s references to it throughout the program and her connecting it with Germany’s World Cup victory took the joke way overboard,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor.
“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.”
Last week ADL voiced concern at how Germany’s victory in various World Cup matches led to an outpouring of Hitler and Nazi remarks on Twitter and social media.
Handler’s jokes, “Only play into this trivialization of what happened during the Holocaust,” ADL wrote in a letter to E! Entertainment, adding that, “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.”
Of the Nazi references on social media in response to Germany’s World Cup victory, Mr. Foxman said last week that, “These tweets falsely and irresponsibly identify current, democratic Germany with the horrific past of the country, which the present German government and people have denounced and rejected. Germany has done so much to atone for its past, and to have this happen now is terribly hurtful.”