Ben Stiller Re-Tweeted A St. Patty’s Day Message And Everyone’s Irish Is Up

Ben Stiller re-tweeted a St. Patrick’s Day message from fellow actor and comedian Michael Ian Black, and it’s taking a lot of heat from people in the Twittersphere. The message from Black and promoted by Stiller and other members of Hollywood is regarding immigration, but as several people point out, Ben and Michael might not have all the facts in regard to the influx of Irish immigrants several centuries ago.

Both Ben Stiller and Black received quite a bit of backlash for the tweet as people pointed out the truth about how Irish immigrants were treated.

While Ben Stiller and Michael Ian Black may have thought they fit the Hollywood narrative of the positive effects of immigration, neither Stiller nor Black seemed to realize the true history of how Irish immigrants were treated upon their arrival into the United States. Had Ben and Michael done their research, they would’ve discovered that Irish immigrants were subjected to hatred, work discrimination, and often arrived at the shore with Americans throwing rotten potatoes at them.

Ben Stiler's St. Patrick's Day re-tweet angered some fans.
Ben Stiller, whose St. Patrick's Day tweet stirred up anti-immigration history, spoke before the United Nations in favor of Syrian refugee asylum. [Image by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images.]

According to the website U.S. History, more than half the population of Ireland came to the United States after the great potato famine. The more than two million Irish immigrants arrived with very little to no money, and their desperation to work meant they had a willingness do hard labor for slave wages. What Ben Stiller and Michael Ian Black didn’t seem to realize was this created great fear in low-income Americans, who became concerned there would be a shortage of jobs. Stiller and Black would probably also be surprised to find out there was a significant amount of anti-Irish sentiment due to their Catholic religious affiliation.

Had Ben Stiller done his homework, he more than likely wouldn’t have re-tweeted the message. Ben obviously doesn’t want immigrants to come to the country to be treated poorly. In fact, Stiller has been a proponent of taking in Syrian refugees and a critic of the current administration’s attempt to enforce a ban on Muslim countries. In January, Ben published an op-ed piece in Time describing his visit with Syrian refugee children in Jordan. In his essay, Stiller admitted that he, too, wants to ensure the safety of Americans, but Ben was attempting to balance that with compassion.

“Like a lot of us, I am trying to reconcile how to be open-hearted and empathetic to the plight of our fellow human beings while also being concerned about our national security,” Stiller said. Ben acknowledged that his status as a celebrity didn’t necessarily qualify him as an authority figure on the matter, but he found the trip enlightening. “I, Ben Stiller, star of Dodgeball, do not have the answer. But by meeting with refugees and those assisting them, I was able to get a better sense of some of the realities.”

@unrefugees children need a chance #WithRefugees

A post shared by Ben Stiller (@benstiller) on

While Ben Stiller’s heart may have been in the right place in sharing the St. Patrick’s Day tweet, the tendency of people to share sentiment on social media without doing their due diligence or understanding facts continues to be a growing problem in creating divisiveness. And Stiller wasn’t the only celebrity to latch on to Michael Ian Black’s St. Patrick’s Day message. Comedian, writer, director Judd Apatow and actress Jane Lynch also shared the tweet, and like Ben, they too came under fire from fans.

Michael Ian Black took note of the criticism, and he better explained his thoughts.

Perhaps he could’ve done Ben Stiller a solid and tagged him in it.

[Featured Image by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival.]