Press Release

ADL Condemns Anti-Semitic Remark by Actor Gary Oldman

Says He ‘Should Know Better’ Than To Repeat Tired Anti-Jewish Tropes

New York, NY, June 24, 2014 … Reacting to published comments by actor Gary Oldman defending Mel Gibson’s past anti-Semitic comments as justifiable, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said Mr. Oldman “should know better than to repeat tired anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish control of Hollywood.”

In an interview with Playboy magazine published Monday, the British actor remarked that, “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.”

“Gary Oldman’s remarks irresponsibly feed into a classic anti-Semitic canard about supposed Jewish control of Hollywood and the film industry,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  “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.”

The assertion that Jews “control” Hollywood, the media, banking and finance, among other things is an anti-Semitic stereotype based on the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” the 19th century anti-Semitic forgery that suggested Jews conspire to control major industries such as banking and finance. 

Jewish control of the media and Hollywood was a major theme in the 1920s promoted by the Dearborn Independent, a long-defunct publication backed by the industrialist Henry Ford Sr.; and to the present day anti-Semites have continued to allege that Jews are engaged in a conspiracy to “control Hollywood.”

The notion of Jewish control of Hollywood has had staying power in the U.S.  In 2013, an ADL poll of attitudes toward Jews in the U.S. found that 24 percent of all Americans believe that “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews.”

Updated: January 01, 1970

ADL subsequently welcomed Gary Oldman's on-air apology in his appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."  In his apology, Mr. Oldman showed a greater awareness and understanding of how words matter, and of his responsbility as a celebrity to use them both wisely and well.