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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Hollywood Jewish guys [heart] shiksas: Part 2


I got a lot of heated feedback for my post this week riffing on a provocative story in Tablet magazine detailing how Hollywood's Jewish guys, from famous comedians to studio executives, have since time immemorial -- meaning since the days of burlesque -- preferred casting blond shiksas to dark, sultry Jewish women in leading roles. A host of commenters, led by "Jimbo" and "fman," thought my views on the issue were either offensive or blown out of proportion.

Fair enough. So as further support for my case, I offer this new post from Danielle Berrin's "Hollywood Jew" blog in the Jewish Journal. It's an appreciation of the gifted actress Rachel Weisz, whose new film, "Agora," just had a big opening in Spain. Berrin unearthed a 2001 interview Weisz did about being a Jewish actress in Hollywood that further proves my worst suspicions about Hollywood executives' discrimination against Jewish women. Here's an excerpt from the interview, conducted by Index magazine's Emma Forrest:

Emma: Is it limiting as an actress to be perceived as being too ethnic in any way?

Rachel: Well, I think you and I have always felt the same way--that we're Jewish but we can get away with just being exotic.... Hollywood's run by Jews. I was advised by an American agent when I was about 19 to change my surname. And I said, "Why? Jews run Hollywood." He said, "Exactly." He had a theory that all the executives think acting's a job for shiksas.

Emma: Of all the self-loathing Jews in the world, the most self-loathing are the Hollywood Jews. They don't want to see images of themselves on screen. That's why Lauren Bacall had to hide her identity, and Winona Ryder changed her name from Horowitz.

Rachel: In some way, acting is prostitution, and Hollywood Jews don't want their own women to participate. Also, there's an element of "Portnoy's Complaint." They all fancy Aryan blondes.


Photo of Rachel Weisz in Wong Kar Wai's "My Blueberry Nights" by Macall Polay / The Weinstein Co.

Comments () | Archives (9)

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How does this interview bit prove anything? Despite everything that Rachel Weisz says about her experiences, she is still a very well known actress who is routinely cast in major films (including the Lovely Bones, this December, a role that certainly could have been played by any (non-Jewish) blonde)). I seem to recall that at one point, Weisz was the highest paid British actress - and I'd say she's still one of the top 5 best known British-born leading actresses, today.

I also hope some day people will realize that about 90% of the world's "Shiksas" are not blonde (considering at least 80% of the world's "Shiksas" are not even white!).

Anyway, someone posted this list of some of today's more famous Jewish actresses on the other thread, and I'll repost it because I think it should be brought up anytime this ridiculous argument is made. Jewish women are certainly well represented in acting, and I'm proud that they are:

-Ginnifer Goodwin
-Amanda Bynes
-Mila Kunis
-Alicia Silverstone
-Bar Refaeli
-Gwyneth Paltrow (father was Jewish)
-Debra Messing
-Nat Portman & the half-Jewish Scarlett Johansson
-Debra Winger
-Ashley Tisdale
-Amanda Peet (her mother is Jewish)
-Jennifer Connelly (same as Peet)
-Alexa Davalos
-Sarah Michelle Gellar
-Melanie Laurent (hottie from Inglourious Basterds)
-Alyson Hannigan (her mother is Jewish)
-Rachel Weisz
-Ellen Barkin
-Evan Rachel Wood
-Goldie Hawn (her mother is Jewish) and her daughter Kate Hudson
-Jami Gertz
-Jamie Lee Curtis (half)
-Julianna Margulies
-Margarita Levieva
-Rashida Jones (raised in her mom's Jewish faith; and her mom is actress Peggy Lipton, who's 100% Jewish)
-Mia Kirshner
-Selma Blair
-Michelle Trachtenberg
-The Arquette sisters and Rachel Bilson (half Jewish)
-Sara Paxton
-Winona Ryder
-Jennifer Jason Leigh (100% Jewish)

Rachel Weisz is from England. Nearly every Jewish producer had, at one point, a receptionist with an English accent answering their phones.

Aren't you talking about Hollywood? USA? She didn't get her start here; she's an exotic, just because she's English.

Rachel Weisz, Scarlett Johanson, even those who enter acting as children such as Natalie Portman, would not count at all. Actresses not of a sexual or threatening age, or of an obvious identifiability do not count. They would be considered "variables" in a social scientific study.

I know what I am talking about. I am a smart Jewish girl who is also published for social scientific research; in addition to having a authentic acting resume.

Portnoy's Complaint. Who called it?

"Weisz was the highest paid British actress"

When was this? Weisz herself said that she does not get paid that much.

Rachel Weisz was never the highest paid actress in Britain. You should check your facts before you say something like that.

In the words of Flavor Flav, "This is garbage, straight-up garbage."

The business has enough problems and real issues to deal with.

What's worse, this is entirely theoretical. A waste of time, and it's totally offensive. Way to bring back tribalism, Pat. How about a fact-based study highlighting ALL races and ethnic heritages? Want to break it out by percentage? What's the ratio of jewish actresses to non-jewish actresses? Did you interview casting directors? Where does it lead? Quotas. And you know what would happen then? FEWER jewish female stars, genius.

'The list'... unbelievable in the 21st century.

If you really believe that this stuff is influencing casting, you are, frankly, nuts. Any performer that breaks out and becomes a star... that can make the studios and financiers money... is AUTOMATICALLY above this issue.

Rachel Weisz, Beyonce, Anne Hathaway, Naomi Watts - stars can have any background.

BTW, PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT is Fifty Years Old. Fifty. Years. Old.

Jewish women aren't particularly pretty, don't you think that might have something to do with it? The ones that do get on the silver screen have plastic surgery to make their noses "less ethnic" which is just another way of saying, "less Jewish-looking".

Loud, brash, mouthy, annoying... these aren't the characteristics you'd want in a sympathetic character, but all of these characteristics come naturally to a Jewish woman. Joan Rivers (Molinsky) comes to mind.

Thanks, "Roy" of VNN, that sure was enlightening.

See, that's what ridiculous articles like this lead to. When you make an absurd and badly-researched statement like "there are few Jewish women in Hollywood" you get "explanations" from scumbags from white supermacist sites like Roy of the VNN.

When you dabble in this worldview where "blonde shiksa goddessess" face off against whatever stereotype you have about Jewish women, you get people answering who are only too happy to dabble in it with you, and not usually for good reasons.

This article reminds me why people dislike jews. Of course, this story has been completely ignored in the medai. Isn't "shiksa" a racist term?


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