Melissa Joan Hart defended herself days after she was accused of making anti-Semitic comments during a recent “Journeys of Faith” podcast interview with Good Morning America’s Paula Faris.
The actress stirred up controversy over the advice she gave to her son as he started a new school after attending a Christian preschool. “We don’t know if there people are good people,” Hart told the boy. “We don’t know if they believe in Jesus.”
She later took to her Instagram account to clarify her quotes. “I’ve been studying religion for the past 8 years and am learning more everyday. I try to never judge anyone … unless they put ice in their wine … but I was simply telling my son that we knew the people at his old school, even down to their faith beliefs,” the Sabrina the Teenage Witch alum, 42, explained to a follower in the comments section of an Instagram photo posted on January 5. “The new kids in school, we didn’t know a thing about so he was going to have to judge for himself.”
Hart added: “In the podcast I talk about how he focused in on the Jesus part and it opened up discussions with friends and neighbors that might be a [sic] tricky for children to navigate. I never said Christians are superior. Just trying to explain better.”
The Melissa and Joey actress — who shares three sons, Mason, 12, Braydon, 10, and Tucker, 6 with her husband, Mark Wilkerson — came under fire after her conversation with Faris, 43, was released on January 2.
During the interview, Hart revealed that her son befriended a Jewish classmate at his new school.
The New York native added that she got involved in a “heated” conversation with the kid’s mother.
“When a mom [of the child] called me with a problem in sixth grade I was like, well, ‘Do I regret telling my son that we don’t know if people believe in Jesus, so we don’t know their character?’” she asked. “‘Is that a wrong thing to say? Did I set my son on the wrong path or was that the right thing to say and I should defend that?’”
Her comments sparked backlash from listeners. “This is flawed thinking. There are plenty of pedo priests that believe in Jesus that your little boy shouldn’t trust. How we treat others is the only indicator on how good or bad a person is,” one wrote to Hart.
Another added: “The comment that you made on your podcast, was ridiculously wrong as f–k cast not the first stone @melissajoanhart you been irrelevant after your tv show.”
Others, however, were on her side, writing, “I support you raising your children in your faith and you should stick to your beliefs and not let anyone shame your for them. Tolerance isn’t telling people what they can or cannot believe or say, it is accepting that what we each believe and say may be different from what we believe, but acknowledging their right to believe or say it.”
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