Gary Oldman says he is "deeply remorseful" about "insensitive" comments about Jewish people that he had made to Playboy, following condemnation of his remarks by the Anti-Defamation League.
The 56-year-old British Dark Knight and Harry Potter actor, who played a rabbi in the 2009 horror film The Unborn, had made his remarks in the interview while talking about hypocrisy and being politically correct in society. He had cited the backlash over Mel Gibson's 2006 DUI arrest, in which he unleashed an anti-Semitic tirade at a police officer, then later, apologized.
In his Playboy interview, published earlier this week, Oldman said, "Mel Gibson is in a town that's run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he's actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him—and doesn't need to feed him anymore because he's got enough dough. He's like an outcast, a leper, you know? But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn't turned and said, "That f--king k--t" or "F--k those Germans," whatever it is? We all hide and try to be so politically correct. That's what gets me."
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a U.S.-based group that aims to stop anti-Semitism and bigotry, said in a statement on Tuesday that "Mr. Oldman 'should know better than to repeat tired anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish control of Hollywood.'"
"Dear Gentlemen of the ADL ... I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy Interview were offensive to many Jewish people," Oldman said in a statement. "Upon reading my comments in print—I see how insensitive they may be, and how they may indeed contribute to the furtherance of a false stereotype. Anything that contributes to this stereotype is unacceptable, including my own words on the matter. If, during the interview, I had been asked to elaborate on this point I would have pointed out that I had just finished reading Neal Gabler's superb book about the Jews and Hollywood, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood. The fact is that our business, and my own career specifically, owes an enormous debt to that contribution."
"I hope you will know that this apology is heartfelt, genuine, and that I have an enormous personal affinity for the Jewish people in general, and those specifically in my life," he said. "The Jewish People, persecuted thorough the ages, are the first to hear God's voice, and surely are the chosen people. I would like to sign off with "Shalom Aleichem" [translation: "May peace be upon you"]—but under the circumstances, perhaps today I lose the right to use that phrase, so I will wish you all peace–Gary Oldman."
Oldman, who is currently promoting the upcoming film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, had also raised eyebrows by saying in the Playboy interview that he does not "blame" Alec Baldwin for using a three-letter anti-gay slur against intrusive paparazzi, which the latter actor had denied following a media firestorm, as well as over his usage of expletives and racial slurs. He has not commented about those remarks.