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Over 1,000 Jewish Creatives and Professionals Have Now Denounced Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Zone of Interest’ Oscars Speech in Open Letter

Written by on March 20, 2024

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 10: Jonathan Glazer (R), winner of the Best International Feature Film award for “The Zone of Interest”, poses in the press room during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Ovation Hollywood on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

(Variety) – More than 1,000 Jewish creatives, executives and Hollywood professionals have signed an open letter denouncing Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest” Oscar speech.

The list of co-signees provided to Variety Monday morning covers a broad swath of the industry including actors (Debra Messing, Tovah Feldshuh), executives (Gary Barber, Gail Berman), creators (Amy Sherman-Palladino), directors (Eli Roth, Rod Lurie), producers (Lawrence Bender, Amy Pascal, Hawk Koch, Sherry Lansing) and representatives (UTA’s Jake Fenton, Gersh’s Jeffrey Greenberg, attorney Craig Emmanuel). About 500 more individuals have added their names to the nearly 500 who signed on when the open letter was first published.

The group’s statement says: “We refute our Jewishness being hijacked for the purpose of drawing a moral equivalence between a Nazi regime that sought to exterminate a race of people, and an Israeli nation that seeks to avert its own extermination.”

Glazer declined to comment.

With such high-profile co-signees as Jennifer Jason Leigh, “La La Land” producer Gary Gilbert and “The Americans” creators Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, the statement adds, “The use of words like ‘occupation’ to describe an indigenous Jewish people defending a homeland that dates back thousands of years, and has been recognized as a state by the United Nations, distorts history. It gives credence to the modern blood libel that fuels a growing anti-Jewish hatred around the world, in the United States, and in Hollywood.”

It is unclear how the open letter came together. Variety spoke to several co-signees who explained why they lent their names to the statement. Among the signatories is Julianna Margulies, who apologized for her own controversial comments about Black and LGBTQ supporters of Palestinian cause.

“His words sounded eerily similar to Vanessa Redgrave’s infamous ‘Zionist hoodlum’ speech,” says “Modern Family” producer Ilana Wernick of Glazer’s speech. “Only this time there was no Paddy Chayefsky to stand up and say the right thing. Sadly, Jew hatred won the day. That’s why so many of us in the industry reached out to each other. It was a very sad, very scary night. Writing the letter wasn’t just cathartic for us. It’s something we had to do.”

“Stranger Things” and “Fleabag” actor Brett Gelman echoed that sentiment. “There was no concern for how Jewish people are going to react to a speech like that, to that applause to those red pins, when not even our hostages are being mentioned, and it’s just incredibly hurtful, incredibly painful,” says Gelman. “It’s truly baffling to me that people were choosing to be silent that night.” (Several Oscar attendees including Ruffalo and Billie Eilish wore an Artists4Ceasefire pin.)

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