Oldman offers 'heartfelt' apology for Gibson comments

Gary Oldman. Photo / AP
Gary Oldman. Photo / AP

British actor Gary Oldman has said sorry for insisting that Hollywood is "run by Jews" and for defending Mel Gibson - but one group dismissed the apology as insufficient.

The 56-year-old sent a letter to the Jewish rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) about his comments to Playboy magazine, saying he had "an enormous personal affinity for the Jewish people."

"I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy interview were offensive to many Jewish people," he said in a statement.

"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," he added in the statement, provided by ADL.

The Dark Knight star made the controversial comments when talking about Gibson's notorious 2006 anti-Semitic rant at a US sheriff's deputy who had arrested him for drunken driving.

"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," Oldman told Playboy.

"I just think political incorrectness is crap."

The ADL said Oldman "should know better than to repeat tired anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish control of Hollywood."

The LA-based Simon Wiesenthal Center's founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier, added that Oldman's "comment that Hollywood is a town 'run by Jews' has a very familiar sinister ring to it that is the anthem of bigots and anti-Semites everywhere."

In his statement of apology, Oldman said: "Anything that contributes to this stereotype is unacceptable, including my own words on the matter."

He added: "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."

But ADL head Abraham H Foxman said the apology was not enough.

"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."

He added: "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."

- AFP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 19 Dec 2014 12:58:28 Processing Time: 523ms