Gary Oldman Apologizes to Anti-Defamation League for Anti-Semitic Remarks in Playboy Interview

Celebrity News Jun. 25, 2014 AT 8:30AM
 Gary Oldman attends the London Critics' Circle Film Awards on Feb. 2 Gary Oldman apologized after making offensive comments in a Playboy interview Credit: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

That didn't take long! Within 48 hours of Playboy magazine publishing its extended interview with Gary Oldman, the actor has already apologized for the anti-Semitic comments that he made during the chat. 

While he shared interesting opinions on everything from his film career to the legalization of marijuana, Oldman made headlines for his diatribe on political correctness

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The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes star, 56, spoke out in favor of controversial stars Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin, excusing both actors for their past transgressions of using offensive slurs. 

"I just think political correctness is crap," Oldman said in the interview, before casually tossing around Jewish stereotypes, the N-word, and saying he doesn't "blame" Baldwin for using offensive homophobic slang. He went on to add of Gibson's past anti-Semitism, "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—and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough. He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know?"

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After the Anti-Defamation League took issue with the Dark Knight star's words, he issued an apology, which was obtained by Deadline. "Dear Gentlemen of the ADL: I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy Interview were offensive to many Jewish people," Oldman wrote. "Upon reading my comments in print—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," he continued. "The Jewish People, persecuted thorough the ages, are the first to hear God’s voice, and surely are the chosen people."

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Oldman went on to reference the Hebrew phrase Shalom Aleichem, meaning, "peace to you," by saying, "I would like to sign off with 'Shalom Aleichem'—but under the circumstances, perhaps today I lose the right to use that phrase, so I will wish you all peace -Gary Oldman."

The condemnation from the ADL specifically targeted Oldman's mentions of the Jewish people. 

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

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