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Portman references Agriprocessors raid in Oscar presentation

For those who missed last night’s Academy Awards, one of the highlights of the evening came when Jewish actors Natalie Portman and Ben Stiller took the stage to present the award for cinematography.  Stiller, who was lampooing Joaquin Phoenix’s bewildering appearance on David Letterman last week, came out sporting a shaggy beard and a wild hairdo while acting both despondent and distracted.  To this, Portman remarked, "You look like you work in a Hasidic meth lab."

Portman was likely referring to the May 2008 federal raid on the Hasidic-owned and operated Agriprocessors meat processing plant in Postville, Iowa, in which federal agents alleged to have discovered, among other infractions, a facility for producing methamphetamines. Though federal prosecutors have yet to prove this charge, it appears to have nonetheless entered into the popular imagination.