(JTA) — The Netflix superhero series “The Umbrella Academy” is being called out by critics who say it promotes anti-Semitic stereotypes.
The show, based on a comic book series of the same name, includes an underground society of lizard people who secretly control the world and their handler — who speaks Yiddish in at least one scene.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews published an open letter criticizing the show.
“The use of a Yiddish saying by the evil boss of an organization which controls the world’s timeline is clearly an antisemitic trope,” the group’s vice president Amanda Bowman told the Sun, a British tabloid, after the open letter was published. “Whether intentional or not, this makes for very uncomfortable viewing. Netflix should take action to remove the racism from this scene.”
Jewish writer Katherine Locke told the Sun that she also believes the show, which co-stars Ellen Page promotes the “antisemitic conspiracy theory that there’s a secret cabal of Jews controlling or manipulating the world.”
“This scene played right into that. And I think the important part here is: some people will brush this scene off. A lot of people didn’t even see it … But there are two groups of people who will see it, and whom I believe are meant to see it: Jewish viewers, and antisemites. It felt like a dog whistle and a warning all in one,” she said.
The real-life modern conspiracy theory involving lizards who control the world is often associated with British writer David Icke, who draws from the anti-Semitic tract “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
Others took to social media to air their frustrations.