Actress Emmy Rossum. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Jewish actress and “Shameless” star Emmy Rossum posted a Twitter thread earlier this week about antisemitism in the film industry, prompted by the latest controversy involving Mel Gibson.
The Golden Globe nominee, 33, shared an article about Jewish actress Winona Ryder’s claim in a recent interview that at a party in the 1990s Gibson called her an “oven dodger,” a clear reference to the crematoria at Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and told her friend who was gay, “Oh wait, am I gonna get AIDS?”
Gibson denied the allegations.
Rossum — whose mother is of Russian-Jewish descent — commented, “This stirred up a lot for me in a time when I’m already pretty stirred. It’s disgusting. It’s sad. And yet not a surprising or unique experiece [sic] of the white supremacy and bigotry that pervades our country and industry at all.”
The “Phantom of the Opera” star then shared her own experiences with antisemitism in Hollywood.
“On multiple occasions I’ve had people — both in the industry and not — be surprised to learn that I’m Jewish. They usually react with “Oh! Wow. You don’t really LOOK Jewish,’” she wrote. “And when I offer no response and let the statement linger they continue with some kind of defensive qualifier like ‘I mean that in a GOOD way! As if ‘looking Jewish’ — whatever that means to them — is something I should want to avoid. This makes me sick.”
She added, “I can’t even tell you the amount of times I received audition feedback solely based on my appearance: ‘too ethnic’ ‘just want someone more ‘American’ looking’ ‘we ideally want a blonde with blue eyes, someone that just looks nicer’….. etc. And this is my experience as a WHITE woman. I can only imagine the impossible hurdles of getting a job as a person of color in this industry. Have I even felt 1/1000th of the intolerance, bigotry and pain that POC are routinely subjected to? I don’t know.”
Rossum concluded by saying she acknowledged it might not be “helpful to compare,” but “it’s only helpful to find deep deep empathy and love and call out intolerance where we see it — both in ourselves, others, systems, the world. It’s painful and scary. It’s a lifelong commitment and journey. I am and will continue to be an ally.”
Since the resurfacing of Ryder’s claim, which she had publicly talked about before, Gibson has been dropped from an animated movie role.
Jewish comedic actor Seth Rogen referred to Ryder’s allegations against Gibson, tweeting, “I’m only surprised by Mel Gibson’s ‘oven dodger’ comment because it acknowledges the Holocaust actually happened.”
Last year, Rogen called Gibson a “Ho-ho-holocaust denier” when it was rumored that Gibson would play Santa Claus in a movie.
Seth Rogen @Sethrogen