Well, here is a shocker. Actor Gary Oldham (Harry Potter, Air Force One, Dracula) has apologized for the remarks he made in an interview in this month’s Playboy magazine in which he defended Mel Gibson and criticized the Jewish leaders in Hollywood. Oldham did not apologize for his sexual-based references about Nancy Pelosi or his support of Alec Baldwin’s use of the word ‘fag,’ nor for his brief marriage to Uma Thurman.
First some background: When I received my newest copy of Playboy – which I read for the articles – there was an interview by David Hochman with actor Gary Oldham. Oldham held forth on his roles, four marriages, advice to his son who wants to be a photographer, his directors, his father’s abuse or lack of abuse, his Porsche Beck 550 Spyder replica and more.
When asked about Mel Gibson, on the topic of Mel’s financing his own films, Oldham replies, “I just think political correctness is crap. That’s what I think about it. I think it’s like, take a fucking joke. Get over it. I heard about a science teacher who was teaching that God made the earth and God made everything and that if you believe anything else you’re stupid. A Buddhist kid in the class got very upset about this, so the parents went in and are suing the school! The school is changing its curriculum! I thought, All right, go to the school and complain about it and then that’s the end of it. But they’re going to sue! No one can take a joke anymore. I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things. We’re all fucking hypocrites. That’s what I think about it. The policeman who arrested him has never used the word nigger or that fucking Jew? I’m being brutally honest here. It’s the hypocrisy of it that drives me crazy. Or maybe I should strike that and say â€œthe N wordâ€ and â€œthe F word,â€ though there are two F words now.”
He continued, “Alec calling someone an F-A-G in the street while he’s pissed off coming out of his building because they won’t leave him alone. I don’t blame him. So they persecute. 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 himâ€”and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough. He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know? But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn’t turned and said, â€œThat fucking krautâ€ or â€œFuck those Germans,â€ whatever it is? We all hide and try to be so politically correct. That’s what gets me. It’s just the sheer hypocrisy of everyone, that we all stand on this thing going, â€œIsn’t that shocking?â€ [smiles wryly] All right. Shall I stop talking now? What else can we discuss?”
After the interview, Douglas Urbanski, Oldham’s advisor said “In this interview Gary is doing what many intelligent people do: he is illustrating the absurd by being absurd.”
Some Jewish groups were outraged by Oldham’s remarks in Playboy.
Rabbi Marvin Heir, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles said, “Gary Oldman wants Jews to â€˜get over’ what Mel Gibson said. But what Gibson said was the slogan that Adolf Hitler used to murder six million Jews during the Holocaust. His own comment that Hollywood is a town â€˜run by Jews’ has a very familiar sinister ring to it that is the anthem of bigots and anti-Semites everywhere. That has nothing to do with political correctness.”
Abraham H. Foxman, executive director of the ADL, said: â€œ”ary 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 â€˜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.”
Oldham ap;ogized today. His apology is below:
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 â€” 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 â€˜Shalom Aleichem’ â€” but under the circumstances, perhaps today I lose the right to use that phrase, so I will wish you all peace â€“ Gary Oldman.