This is just horrifying, the kind of story I wish I could ignore, like a kid covering his eyes to make the monsters go away, so as not to give forces of darkness power over my friends in the film industry who care about Palestinians, but that doesn’t work. And yes the report is mostly gossip, but when tongues start wagging in Hollywood, who knows who looks down and finds that their legs are gone.
From the Independent in London:
Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem are reportedly facing a serious backlash from top Hollywood executives following their support for Gaza, which saw the couple sign an open letter condemning the actions of Israel as tantamount to “genocide”.
The couple were among 100 film professionals to sign the open Spanish letter calling on the European Union to end Israel’s military operation in Gaza, along with director Pedro Almodovar in July.
But their actions have sparked anger in top Hollywood executives, which has reportedly called their careers in to question. One top exec told the Hollywood Reporter that he was “furious at Javier and Penelope” and queried whether he would want to work with the couple again…
one industry executive said the Hollywood couple’s actions did not reach the “Mel Gibson threshold,” referencing the widespread public outrage that erupted after Mr Gibson was caught making an anti-Semitic tirade while being arrested in 2006.
One producer who has previously worked with Ms Cruz, told the magazine that he privately vowed never to work with the actress again.
Penelope Cruz later bethought her earlier statement and walked it back, kumbaya-style, to USA Today:
“I’m not an expert on the situation and I’m aware of the complexity of it. My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza.
“I am hopeful all parties can agree to a ceasefire and there are no more innocent victims on either side of the border. I wish for unity, and peace… I believe in a civilization that can be capable of bringing the courage to have a world where humans can live side by side.”
The Hollywood Reporter quoted an unnamed producer rolling his eyes over the clarification, dismissing it out of hand. Only one producer, Ryan Kavanaugh, spoke on the record to the Hollywood Reporter:
“As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, anyone calling it Israeli ‘genocide’ vs. protecting themselves are either the most ignorant people about the situation and shouldn’t be commenting, or are truly anti-Semitic.”
And Kavanaugh is a player. From Wikipedia:
he has financed more than 200 films representing more than $17 billion in revenue (earning the nickname “Billion Dollar Producer”)
The good news here, for all my nightfrights, is that Bardem has said important noble statements about Palestinian human rights in a Spanish op-ed-– “I can’t understand this barbarism, even more cruel and incomprehensible considering all of the horrible things the Jewish people have gone through in the past”– and many folks in Hollywood agree with him and his wife; and that agreement has produced a reluctance to stand up for Israel. The report from the Hollywood Reporter said that Jon Stewart, Jonathan Demme and Mark Ruffalo have all escaped criticism though voicing “nuanced concerns about Israel’s military action in Gaza while supporting the nation in general.” And it cited this silence as a concern to Haim Saban, the Democratic party boss and Obama ringmaster:
“I don’t know why more prominent Hollywood people don’t speak out about what’s going on there,” [Howard] Stern said on his radio show July 28. “They’re all afraid.” Hollywood political donor Haim Saban, one of the industry’s biggest Israel supporters, echoed those sentiments. “I don’t understand this myself,” Saban told the Jewish Journal on Aug. 1. “But starting today, I will be working the phones to enlist the vocal support of people who I know have an interest in supporting our staunchest ally in the region — which also happens to be the only democracy in the region.”
Working the phones, he is. Why would anyone answer Haim Saban’s phone call? Yes, why.
Years ago John Mearsheimer said to me, “You have to understand, this is mortal combat.” The more time passes, the more I agree with the professor and West Point grad.