Anti-Defamation League Launches Media and Entertainment Institute

The Anti-Defamation League has created a media and entertainment institute to focus on improving the understanding of Jewish people and antisemitism in society.

“It’s not uncommon to see Jews in movies and television, but it is most common to see Jews boxed into stereotypes and tropes that create a narrow — and often negative — impression of the Jewish people,” ADL CEO and national director Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement. “We know that many Americans only learn about Jews and Judaism through the media, and many say they have encountered antisemitic comments or tropes from movies, TV and pop culture. At a time of rising antisemitism, we must take a hard look at how Jews are portrayed onscreen and in culture more broadly.”

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According to ADL surveys, almost a third of Americans say they don’t know any Jewish people in real life. Other research has shown that people who consume Jewish stereotypes are more likely to become antisemitic, and that people receive antisemitic content more from pop culture and entertainment than from most other sources.

The Los Angeles-based institute will work with industry leaders as well as nonprofit organizations, including Common Sense Media, which provides entertainment recommendations for families and educators and will soon release a list of recommended movies and TV shows in partnership with ADL.

The institute is launching with five pillars of focus:

  • Publishing research, such as reports evaluating positive and negative Jewish representation in entertainment

  • Establishing best practices for producers, writers and creators when developing Jewish characters and storylines

  • Educating industry creatives about antisemitism and diverse Jewish narrative representation

  • Responding to both positive and negative Jewish content through recognition and accountability, respectively

  • Partnering with other media advocacy organizations to support positive portrayals of all marginalized groups

The move comes after the ADL unveiled its 21-member Entertainment Leadership Council in March. The new institute will formally be announced Tuesday night at an ADL dinner hosted at the Academy Museum.

The ADL is represented by UTA.

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