‘Zone of Interest’ producer ‘fundamentally disagrees’ with director Jonathan Glazer’s Oscars speech

Danny Cohen, who served as the executive producer on the Academy Award-winning film “The Zone of Interest,” revealed Friday that he does not support the acceptance speech made by director Jonathan Glazer at the 2024 Oscars.

In the speech, Glazer, 58 drew parallels between Nazi Germany and the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

In his acceptance speech, Glazer stated “Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst, it shaped all of our past and present.” Micelotta/Disney via Getty Images
In his acceptance speech, Glazer stated “Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst, it shaped all of our past and present.” Micelotta/Disney via Getty Images

“I just fundamentally disagree with Jonathan on this,” Cohen, 50, told Yonit Levi and Jonathan Freedland on their “Unholy” podcast on Friday. “The war and the continuation of the war is the responsibility of Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization which continues to hold and abuse the hostages, which doesn’t use its tunnels to protect the innocent civilians of Gaza but uses it to hide themselves and allow Palestinians to die.”

“It’s really important to recognize it’s upset a lot of people and a lot of people feel upset and angry about it,” he continued. “And I understand that anger frankly.”

According to Cohen, he has been repeatedly contacted by several members of the Jewish community who viewed the film — which won Best International Feature and Best Sound — as an important piece of Holocaust education but is upset it is “mixed up with what’s going on now [in Gaza], whether that was Jonathan’s intention or not to do that.”

While speaking to both Levi and Freedland, Cohen admitted that “the war is tragic and awful and the loss of civilian life is awful” and “[blames] Hamas for that.”

He also stated that it is “regrettable” that the successful film has been overshadowed by controversy.

Danny Cohen, who served as the Executive Producer on the Oscar-winning film “The Zone of Interest,” revealed Friday that he did not support the acceptance speech made by Jonathan Glazer at the 2024 Oscars. Linkedin/Danny Cohen
Danny Cohen, who served as the Executive Producer on the Oscar-winning film “The Zone of Interest,” revealed Friday that he did not support the acceptance speech made by Jonathan Glazer at the 2024 Oscars. Linkedin/Danny Cohen
“John spent 10 years making the film and has made something remarkable, but people are talking more this week about what he said for 30 seconds,” Cohen said. “And I think that’s regrettable because I’d love just the conversation that he focused on, on the film itself. So John has the right to say what he wants to say, but, you know, I don’t agree with what he said.” REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier
“The Zone of Interest” tells the story of Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), the Nazi officer and commandant of Auschwitz during World War II, and juxtaposes his home life with wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller) and their five children to the horrors of the Holocaust happening right next door. Courtesy Everett Collection
“The Zone of Interest” tells the story of Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), the Nazi officer and commandant of Auschwitz during World War II, and juxtaposes his home life with wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller) and their five children to the horrors of the Holocaust happening right next door. Courtesy Everett Collection

“John spent 10 years making the film and has made something remarkable, but people are talking more this week about what he said for 30 seconds,” Cohen said. “And I think that’s regrettable because I’d love just the conversation that he focused on, on the film itself. So John has the right to say what he wants to say, but, you know, I don’t agree with what he said.”

The Post reached out to Glazer for comment.

In his acceptance speech, Glazer stated, “Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst, it shaped all of our past and present.”

“Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people,” Glazer continued. “Whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?” Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

“Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people,” Glazer continued. “Whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?”

Glazer’s speech was met with thunderous applause from the star-studded audience.

“The Zone of Interest” tells the story of Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), the Nazi officer and commandant of Auschwitz during World War II, and juxtaposes his home life with his wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller) and their five children to the horrors of the Holocaust happening right next door.

The speech was delivered alongside James Wilson and Len Blavatnik, with the latter revealing that he had not seen or heard the remarks until during the show. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images
The speech was delivered alongside James Wilson and Len Blavatnik, with the latter revealing that he had not seen or heard the remarks until during the show. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

The speech was delivered alongside producers James Wilson and Len Blavatnik, with the latter revealing that he had not seen or heard the remarks until during the show.

“No, he didn’t clear the speech,” Lisa Shields, a spokesperson for Blavatnik, told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. “But he’s incredibly proud of the film and the accolades it has received and he doesn’t want to distract from the important themes of the movie.”

Response to Glazer’s impassioned speech has divided several members of the public with several people supporting the filmmaker’s comments while an equal number of people have condemned the Hollywood director’s comparison.

Stefanie Fox, the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, told Variety that Glazer “speaks for the massive and growing number of Jews who honor our histories by joining our Palestinian siblings in their struggle for freedom and justice.”