The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Oliver Stone has apologized for his anti-Semitic rant, but is the damage already done?

Oliver_stone It's such a quintessentially American thing to do that I'm surprised that someone hasn't already engraved it on our $20 bills: If you shoot off your mouth and hurl stupid insults at innocent people, the best thing to do is to apologize as quickly as possible. It's why Oliver Stone isn't going to become Mel Gibson, even though Stone's crackpot remarks about the "Jewish domination of the media" and the Holocaust sounded just as bad as anything Gibson said in his infamous drunken rant about the Jews after he was picked up by Malibu police for drunken driving.

I know this is going to be portrayed as yet another example of the terrible double standard in Hollywood, where lefties can say whatever they want and get away with it while conservatives are pilloried and symbolically burned at the stake. Or as Big Hollywood's John Nolte so succinctly put it: "Don’t expect Oliver Stone to get the Mel Gibson treatment. Gibson’s sin against Hollywood was producing 'The Passion of the Christ,' not the vile things that came out of his mouth. After all, this is the same industry that honors, continues to work with, and defends fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski. As long as your politics are in order, no 'Jewish domination of the media' comments can hurt you."

That's the right wing mantra about the way the media handles these outbursts, which is filled with some considerable irony, since Big Hollywood is run by Andrew Breitbart, the mischievous conservative bomb thrower who ignited the Shirley Sherrod media conflagration last week by putting up an edited tape of a speech she'd given, which made it appear that she was a racist. Of course, when seen in its entirety, the tape showed the exact opposite. By then, Sherrod had been forced to resign. After the unedited tape surfaced, Sherrod was deluged with contrite apologies from everyone from the White House, the NAACP and the Secretary of Agriculture to Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, who'd been among the first to call for her firing.

So where does this leave Oliver Stone? First off, unlike Gibson, who took forever to issue a weak apology for his anti-Semitic rant -- and still hasn't apologized for more recent racist, misogynistic ravings reported to have been made to the mother of his young child -- Stone issued a quick, forceful apology. He said very clearly that "Jews obviously do not control media or any other industry," adding that the Holocaust was indeed an "atrocity." Has he really changed his views overnight? Perhaps not. But sincerity is hard to measure, especially in show business.

I don't know how it works anywhere else, but in America, if you apologize with speed and sincerity, people forgive you. They may not forget, but they'll forgive. Jews have long memories, so even a haphazard Jew like myself can easily call to mind Henry Ford, David Dukes, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and all the other infamous anti-Semites who've never done much in the way of apologizing for their vile words.

The conservative argument about Hollywood's double standard toward Gibson versus Stone is full of holes, the biggest one being that until Gibson went off into the wackosphere with his latest rant, he'd been quietly accepted back into polite Hollywood society. When his longtime agent Ed Limato's agency merged with the agency run by Ari Emanuel, who'd loudly said that Gibson should be shunned by one and all, Emanuel happily received Gibson as an agency client rather than risk Limato leaving with all his other top stars. No one in the supposedly liberal media criticized Emanuel for accepting Gibson with open arms. And hardly anyone in the showbiz press bothered to dredge up Gibson's past offenses when he was out promoting "Edge of Darkness" earlier this year. Forgiveness was in the air. It was only when Gibson went off of a new rampage, adding blacks and women to his hit list, that he officially became a Hollywood pariah.

I suspect that when Stone is out promoting "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" this September that he'll occasionally be required to issue a few more mea culpas. But not often. After all the crazy things Stone has said through the years, from signing a petition that compared Germany's treatment of Scientologists to the Nazi's oppression of the Jews to his unabashed embrace of tinhorn Latin American dictators like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, it takes a lot for people to get worked up over his latest foot-in-mouth antics.

Of course, for a filmmaker to make dark insinuations about a Jewish media cabal is sort of like a Republican officeholder advocating tax increases -- it can get you into a whale of trouble, even if, as this wry Jewish Journal post points out, it's not considered out of bounds for Jewish filmmakers to josh among themselves about the decline in Jewish domination of the film industry. If Stone were a comedian, he'd be able to push the envelope oh, so much further, since comics can get away with all sorts of outlandish, politically incorrect remarks without provoking a hailstorm of criticism. I guess if there is any lesson here, it's that Stone is a lot better off in American than in his beloved Venezuela, Cuba or Iran, where artists have languished in prison for years for making remarks far less rude than what Stone had to say about the Jews. Stone is a free man, which I suspect means that he'll saying something crazy again any day now.   

Photo: Oliver Stone at the British premiere of his film "South of the Border." Credit: Max Nash / AFP/Getty Images


Comments () | Archives (87)

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Breitbart ran what he had (only an edited video) and on his site asked for the full video. Sherrod damned herself -- she deliberately did not help a White farmer and only at the last minute changed her mind. Don Imus got fired for less.

Nolte is correct and you are wrong. Stone said that the attention to the Holocaust was the result of a "Jewish conspiracy" and that furthermore, "the Jewish domination of the media f---'ed up American foreign policy towards Israel."

For this the ADL, Simon Wiesenthal Center, and other Jewish groups roundly condemned Stone. Further, Stone asserted that Hitler was "created" by America, Britain, "and the Jews."

The Anti-Semitic statements infesting this blog show how much hate there is for Jews among the Left.

Stone has been an artistic and commercial failure since the late 1980's. He has a difficult reputation, is constantly over-budget, his films lose a lot of money, he is rumored to be a substance abuser, ONLY his ideology explains his continued employment.

There is a movement to cancel Showtime subscriptions to protest Stone's "Lighter Side of Hitler" documentary. Will his Wall Street 2 movie face the same pressures? Stone in admiration for Hitler, for Castro, for Chavez, for Ahmadinejad, reveals a deep-seated anti-semitism and love for dictators. He's just another Mel Gibson, without the latter's acting talent.

Nolte nailed you: you cut Stone a break because you agree with his politics. Did you co-ordinate this with the Journolisters?

Oliver's comments were not anti-semitic nor did they appear to be"rants".
If Stone's research led him to the conclusion that German military action
killed 20 million Russian shouldn't he be allowed to state this without being
branded an anti-semite. Can we deny that some people and organizations use
their power and influence to control the perception of events in the world, i.e.
George W's Iraqui WofMD program and Ronald Reagan's Iran- Contra Affair.

You should also jettison the MASTER OF CONSPIRACY THEORY label that
has been attached to Mr Stone, by some in the media, even before JFK had
commenced filming. Does everyone in America believe the findings of the
Warren commission?

I was going to post my own comment in support of Stone, but Stephen Alexander's comment, below, presents my own thoughts precisely, so I will just repost his comment:

Is this really a story? Comments suggesting that the jews control the media is like saying the republicans control the insurance industry. Is this really offensive to someone? These statements are observations, not criticisms. Also, any historian of WW2 would agree(with Mr. Stone)that Hitler inflicted far more devistation on the Russians(20+ million dead) than the jewish populations. The holocaust industry seems to struggle with the reality that others suffered more than the jews in WW2. Those claiming to own the franchise on suffering are unconscious.

All these comments about Jews controlling Hollywood gives the impression that they all get together and make collective decisions, or they have a pernicious Jewish agenda. Neither of those assumptions are true. Yes, it's very easy to attack Jews because as we all know, Jews are a minority and are not vindictive or physically violent so you don't have to fear retaliation. So bullies and cowards love to pick on Jews, always have, probably always will.

Lots of Christians are in banking, insurance, sports, construction, etc., but you don't hear anyone saying Christians control football or manufacturing. Yes, they are Christians and they are a majority in those areas but no one is going to attack them for that as Christians.

See, that's why it's not just a statement of “fact” to point out that there are very many Jews in Hollywood industries.

Oliver Stone who? - Jealousy and envy would seem a better title here.

the jews did own 80 percent of germanies wealth before hitler got into power. the german people were starving during this time. hitler did what the ordinary german wanted done to the jews. history about ww2 is grossly distorted. if you were a german at that time, you would have gladly seen the jews exterminated. dont forget that robert redford, winnona ryder, woody harrelson, harrison ford and every other famous actor is jewish. you only have to open your eyes to realize that jew comprise 1% of the population yet take all the good jobs, have all the money and power. people have to wake uup.

Jews dominating the media? How is that breaking news? That has been the case for many, many years. I don't see how that is insulting to Jews, necessarily. It means that many Jews have worked their way into high positions in the media (and are probably very well paid for their efforts as well).

So what? Why is it so horrible to say that Jews run Hollywood? Most people in real estate are Republicans and white so should the RNC start pounding me for saying so? State the obvious and get hounded to death. Ask Marlon Brando to confirm this.

Once again Mr. Goldstein you are using this paper as your personal pulpit when someone says something YOU deem offensive to all jewish people. Hello, jewish people do dominate this industry.

You are not a journalist but rather a huckster for your own agenda. First Mel and now Oliver - shame on you. Last time I checked we (Americans) believe first and foremost freedom of speech.

To the evil anti-Jews, you would do well to consider the gazillions of blessings we have from them...

Hospitals, countless charities which support inner-city kids of all walks, environment support, medical advances, scientific advances, philosophical advances, ALBERT EINSTEIN, AYN RAND, and on and on...

Those who bless them will be blessed, those who curse them will be... Psalm 122:6.

PS. Where's the proof? ...What has happened to the evil Germans? ...What has happened countries which hates Israel? ...What has happened to those who supported Israel? ...

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