Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon has apologized for her controversial comments at a pro-Palestinian rally last month.
Last month, we reported that the Hollywood star, whose credits include The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Thelma & Louise and Dead Man Walking, gave a speech at the New York protest amid the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Her talent agency UTA dropped her after she made the following comments: “There are a lot of people that are afraid, that are afraid of being Jewish at this time, and are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country, so often subjected to violence.”
She told protesters to have conversations with Jewish Americans, who don’t feel safe amid the rise of antisemitism in the country.
Muslim American journalist Asra Nomani responded to Sarandon’s comments in a lengthy post on X, writing: “Please don’t minimize the experience of Jewish Americans by sanitizing the hell that it is for Muslims living in Muslim countries and vilifying America for the life - and freedoms - she offers Muslims like my family. Go, live like a Muslim woman in a Muslim country. You will come back to America and kiss the land beneath your feet.”
In a statement posted to Instagram Friday (1 December), Sarandon said that she had been trying to communicate her concern for rising hate crimes.
“This phrasing was a terrible mistake,” she said, “as it implies that until recently Jews have been strangers to persecution, when the opposite is true.”
“As we all know, from centuries of oppression and genocide in Europe, to the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, PA,” she said, referring to the synagogue shooting that killed 11 and wounding six others in the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history. “Jews have long been familiar with discrimination and religious violence which continues to this day.”
“I deeply regret diminishing this reality and hurting people with this comment,” she said of her remarks at the rally. “It was my intent to show solidarity in the struggle against bigotry of all kinds, and I am sorry I failed to do so.”
Sarandon, 77, has long history of activism for progressive and left-wing causes, becoming a prominent voice in the anti-war movement during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and a vocal critic of Donald Trump during his term in office.
News of Sarandon being dropped by her agency arrived as Melissa Barrera was fired from Scream VII due to her Instagram posts about the Israel-Hamas war.
Barrera, 33, has been dropped from Spyglass Media’s forthcoming Scream sequel over the posts, which have been perceived as antisemitic.
On Friday (1 December), a letter was signed by 1,300 actors and artists accusing cultural institutions across Western countries of censoring those speaking out on behalf of Palestine. Among the names listed were Olivia Colman, Siobhán McSweeney and Aimee Lou Wood.