LOS ANGELES (Apr. 9)
Jewish organizations have responded with shock and anger to a television interview, in which actor Marlon Brando attacked Jews in the entertainment industry.
Appearing on CNN’s “Larry King Live” show, aired from Los Angeles last Friday evening, Brando said that Jews, who “run” and “own” the entertainment industry, “should have greater sensitivity about the issue of people who are suffering because they’ve [been] exploited.
“We have seen the nigger, we have seen the greaseball, we have seen the chink, the slit-eyed Jap,” said Brando, “but we never saw the kike, because they knew perfectly well that’s where you draw the wagons around.”
During the hour-long program, King, who is Jewish, warned the actor that he was playing into the hands of anti-Semites.
Brando responded by saying that “I will be the first one who will praise the Jews, and say, ‘Thank God for the Jews.’”
During the rambling and occasionally incoherent interview, King tried to steer the conversation to other topics, but Brando kept returning to his charges against Jews.
At one point, the actor extended a finger toward King in an obscene gesture.
In a statement, Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called Brando’s remarks “outrageous and offensive,” adding that they “raise the centuries-old canard of Jewish control and conspiracy.”
Phil Baum, executive director of the American Jewish Congress, deplored Brando’s statements.
By “wildly accusing Jews of permitting racist stereotypes to flourish in Hollywood, he is engaging in gross stereotyping himself,” Baum said.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in an interview that Brando is “is not basically an anti-Semite.”
But to say that “Jews own and run the film studios and television networks is simply not factual,” Hier added.
On Tuesday, Hier said Brando had phoned to express remorse over his remarks.
Hier said Brando would make a public statement on the matter during a visit to the Wiesenthal Center scheduled for Friday.
The militant Jewish Defense League came out with the fiercest attack on Brando, promising to make the rest of his life “a living hell.”
Irv Rubin, JDL’s national chairman, said in an interview that his organization would picket Brando’s Los Angeles home and screenings of his upcoming movie, “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” and would demand that the actor’s star be removed from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Rubin denied that the JDL had plastered a black swastika, discovered Monday morning, on Brando’s star, saying “We don’t deal in swastikas.”
Spokesmen for Brando and King did not respond to repeated requests for comments.
Among Brando’s defenders was Jay Kanter, Brando’s longtime agent, producer and friend since 1948.
“Marlon has spoken to me for hours about his fondness for the Jewish people, and he is a well-known supporter of Israel,” Kanter told Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd.
In one of his earliest stage appearances, Brando had a role in Ben Hecht’s 1946 salute to Israel, “A Flag Is Born.”