ADL Blasts Jesse James; Hitler Pic "Not Funny"
The Anti-Defamation League is not pleased with Jesse James.
The 2004 photo of the biker aping Adolf Hitler (in the new issue of Us Weekly) is "offensive" and "in bad taste," Abraham Foxman, National Director of the civil rights group, tells UsMagazine.com.
"It's stupid behavior. It's insensitive behavior," Foxman snaps of Sandra Bullock's husband, 40.
"But," the ADL leader clarifies, "it doesn't make him an anti-Semite."
Foxman explains: "This is not directed against the Jewish people. To the best of my knowledge, James does not have Swastikas on his body."
But one of James' alleged mistresses, Michelle "Bombshell" McGee, has been photographed showing off a tattoo of the Nazi emblem. "The fact that he may be involved with somebody who does [have a swastika tattoo]...that's a lot different. That doesn't mean anything to him."
On Wednesday, James' attorney claimed to CNN that the Nazi hat worn in the picture was a "gag gift" from James' Jewish godfather.
"I have more issues with his Jewish godfather who sent him this is a gift. I find that more bizarre," Foxman quips. "Why would a Jewish godfather send his godson such a gift? That's outlandish!"
Although James is reportedly being treated at a rehab in Tuscon, Ariz., Foxman says he would "like to hear an explanation" from James himself -- not just his lawyer. "It would be nice if he [could] say that he understands that it's not funny, that people should not engage in this...Hitler is not a hero or someone to respect or admire."
While James is currently in the headlines because of his reported infidelity, he's also the self-made CEO of custom-shop West Coast Choppers and the popular star of shows like Jesse James is a Dead Man and Monster Garage.
How can James let his young fans know he's sorry for the photo? Foxman points to the example of Britain's Prince Harry, who caught major flak when photos emerged of him wearing an SS uniform to a Halloween party. "Prince Harry went to Auschwitz," Foxman recounts. "At least it was a message. It said to all these people who venerate Harry as a symbol that he understood enough to take a pilgrimage, to better understand that [the costume] wasn't funny."