Press Release

ADL Says Gary Oldman Apology ‘Insufficient’

New York, NY, June 25, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said the apology it received from British actor Gary Oldman, in response to his remarks as reported in Playboy Magazine about Jewish control of Hollywood, is “insufficient.”

In a letter to ADL, Mr. Oldman wrote he was “deeply remorseful” that his comments “were offensive to many Jewish people” and that if, during the interview, he had been asked to elaborate he 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 … owes an enormous debt to that contribution.”

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

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 are predicated on offensive notions and, as such, are clearly unacceptable.

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.