Kevin Sorbo, the former Hercules star who is now an outspoken Christian conservative, has been granting a series of media interviews recently to promote the DVD release of the film God's Not Dead, in which he stars as atheist college professor who threatens to fail students who continue to believe in God.
But in a recent interview with a conservative televangelist, Sorbo strayed somewhat from the topic of plugging his religious movie to make an anti-Semitic remark.
Speaking to conservative Christian minister and radio host Jerry Newcombe, Sorbo discussed the recent popularity of films with explicitly Christian conservative themes, films such as God's Not Dead, Son of God and the upcoming Left Behind.
Sorbo noted that the commercial potential of films aimed specifically at conservative Christians was demonstrated by Mel Gibson's 2004 biopic of Jesus, The Passion of the Christ, which earned over $600 million at the worldwide box office while being made on a relatively small budget of $30 million, which came largely out of Gibson's own pocket.
The film performed stunningly at the box office even though Jewish groups protested that the movie wrongly depicted Jews as responsible for the death of Jesus.
The myth and mistaken belief that "the Jews killed Jesus" dates back to the writing of the New Testament books of the Bible themselves about 2,000 years ago, and has served as justification for Antisemitism, acts of violence and persecution against the Jewish people ever since.
Not until 1965 did the Vatican issue an official statement absolving Jews of collective responsibility for killing Jesus.
But Kevin Sorbo still holds to the long-discredited blaming of "the Jews" for killing Jesus.
"He (Mel Gibson) got attacked when he was shooting The Passion, from the Jewish community, saying 'look at the way you're portraying us,'" Sorbo noted.
He then added, laughing, "I mean, I go, okay. News bulletin: you did kill Jesus. Come on!"
That was too much even for Newcombe, who is no stranger to controversial statements himself. After the 2012 mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, Newcombe made headlines by saying that victims of the massacre would not be going to heaven unless they were Christian.
But when Newcombe gave Sorbo a chance to walk back his "Jews killed Jesus" statement, Sorbo reiterated, "They had a hand in it."
Kevin Sorbo concluded by noting the massive box office success of The Passion of the Christ, saying that, "Mel sort of had the last laugh there."
[Image Via Pure Flix Entertainment]