Filmmaker Oliver Stone apologized for remarks about the Holocaust and Jewish media influence that were criticized as being anti-Semitic.
“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 yesterday by his publicist, Rubenstein Communications.
The apology followed comments Stone made to the Sunday Times of London. In an interview promoting a new documentary, Stone also discussed a project in the works, “Secret History of America.”
“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.”
Stone sought to put the atrocities in proportion, the Times reported. “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 million,” Stone told the newspaper.
Stone also discussed in the article what he called “Jewish domination of the media,” and said Israel “f***** up United States foreign policy for years.”
The comments drew a response from David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, an advocacy group that promotes “societies that respect the dignity of all peoples.”
“By invoking this grotesque, toxic stereotype, Oliver Stone has outed himself as an anti-Semite,” Harris said in a statement. “For all of Stone’s progressive pretensions, his remark is no different from one of the drunken, Jew-hating rants of his fellow Hollywood celebrity, Mel Gibson.”
Stone, whose sequel to “Wall Street” is scheduled for release in two months by News Corp.’s Fox studio, has been promoting a documentary about South American politics called “South of the Border,” which was shown in February at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
“His apology was necessary and we accept it,” the New York-based American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants said in a statement. “But whether he acted out of sincerity or as a desperate response to the moral outcry at his comments is an open question. He must be judged by his future words and deeds.”
The 10-hour “Oliver Stone’s Secret History of America” is being produced by Stone’s Ixtlan Productions and is scheduled to be distributed by CBS Corp.’s Showtime Networks.
Showtime hasn’t set a release date for the series, which is still in production, the network said in a statement. The views expressed in the Times interview aren’t part of the series, Showtime said.
Fox is scheduled to release “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” on Sept. 24, according to the Internet Movie Database. The film, a sequel to Stone’s 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.
“Jews obviously do not control media or any other industry,” Stone said in yesterday’s statement. “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.”