Oliver Stone's Showtime Series Should Be Canceled, Billionaire Saban Says

Billionaire Haim Saban called on CBS Corp.’s Showtime Networks to cancel Oliver Stone’s planned “Secret History of America” documentary series after the filmmaker made remarks that were criticized as anti-Semitic.

Saban, creator of the “Power Rangers” franchise and an investor in Univision Communications Inc., urged New York-based CBS to cancel the 10-hour series, his spokeswoman, Stephanie Pillersdorf, said today in an e-mail.

“Anyone who works with this guy should be ashamed,” Saban, who is Jewish and a supporter of Israel, said in comments posted at HuffingtonPost.com and confirmed by Pillersdorf. “Oliver Stone should be given a helping hand --indeed, a vigorous shove -- into the land of forced retirement.”

Stone apologized two days ago for an interview with the Sunday Times of London that provoked an outcry from groups including the American Jewish Committee. He told the newspaper “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 million.” He discussed what he called “Jewish domination of the media,” and said Israel has “f***** up United States foreign policy for years.”

Rich Licata, a Showtime spokesman, declined to comment on Saban’s statement. The network said this week it hasn’t set a release date for “Secret History,” which is still in production. The views expressed in the Times interview aren’t part of the series, Showtime said.

Celebrity Stumbles

CBS Radio fired talk-show host Don Imus in April 2007 amid protests over racial epithets he used to describe the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. Summit Entertainment LLC is weighing how to proceed with Mel Gibson’s latest film, “The Beaver,” following RadarOnline.com’s release of audio recordings of the actor purportedly using racial epithets.

“In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret,” Stone said in a statement released on July 26 by his publicist, Rubenstein Communications.

Stone’s spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment today.

In the Times interview, Stone was promoting a documentary on Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. He also discussed the “Secret History” project, which is being produced by his Ixtlan Productions.

“Hitler was a Frankenstein, but there was also a Dr. Frankenstein,” Stone told the Times. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support.”

In January, Stone said the series will place historical figures including Hitler and Stalin “in context” and suggested that Hitler was made an “easy scapegoat” by history, the U.K.’s Telegraph reported at the time.

‘Professional Wilderness’

Stone belongs “in the professional wilderness,” said Saban, who was reported by Forbes magazine to be worth $2.8 billion. “Standing on a splintered soapbox right next to Mel Gibson’s he can preach his anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism into the wind.”

David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, said in a statement this week that Stone “has outed himself as an anti-Semite.”

News Corp.’s Fox studio is scheduled to release Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” on Sept. 24, according to the Internet Movie Database. The film, a sequel to the 1987 hit, features Michael Douglas in a reprise of his role as financier Gordon Gekko, along with Shia LaBeouf and Josh Brolin. It cost $70 million to make, according to IMDB.com.

Fox, part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, plans no changes in the movie’s release, said Chris Petrikin, a spokesman for the studio, said this week.

“Jews obviously do not control media or any other industry,” Stone said in his apology. “The fact that the Holocaust is still a very important, vivid and current matter today is, in fact, a great credit to the very hard work of a broad coalition of people committed to the remembrance of this atrocity -- and it was an atrocity.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

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