Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz should, perhaps, have taken more note of Mel Gibson’s assertion that the Film Industry in general — and Hollywood in particular — is controlled by Jews, before making their now infamous anti-Israel remarks.
Bardem and Cruz, together with other Spanish film stars, directors and writers, signed an open letter calling Israel’s actions against Palestinians “genocide.” They also demanded that Israel lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Their statements were generally interpreted as being anti-Semitic. According to the Hollywood Reporter, at least one top producer who employed Cruz in the past vowed never to hire her again. Other executives were not sure about using them in the future.
Relativity Media chief executive Ryan Kavanaugh, expressed his views publicly: “As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I know that anyone calling what’s going on in Israel ‘genocide’ vs self-defense is either ignorant and shouldn’t be commenting or is truly anti-Semitic.”
Following his declaration, Kavanaugh said he received more than 500 calls, emails and texts of support in just one day. Some of the comments came from high-ranking industry executives, proving that his was not a lone voice in the wilderness.
Another producer was alleged to have said: “I think the thing any executive or producer will try to calculate before working with Penelope Cruz or Javier Bardem in the near future is what their value is in the all-important international marketplace. And what territories they might have alienated people in by what they said. It might not be that many. But it’s really all about business.”
Of course, after realization set in, both Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz tried to frantically backpeddle, and engage in some damage control. Cruz said: “I’m not an expert on the situation and I’m aware of the complexity of it. She added that her “only wish and intention” in signing the letter was that there would be peace in Israel and Gaza.
Bardem was rather more forthcoming:
“My signature was solely meant as a plea for peace. Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction. While I was critical of the Israeli military response, I have great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses.
I am now being labelled by some as anti-Semitic, as is my wife – which is the antithesis of who we are as human beings.
We detest anti-Semitism as much as we detest the horrible and painful consequences of war.”
Actually, given the current depth of anti-Israeli feeling Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz might actually benefit from this exposure in some markets — so long as they can get the finance for their movies from Qatar!