BY JOEL STEIN
Apparently still much more Jewish than the current crop of film and TV moguls would like to admit.*
A poll finds more Americans disagree with the statement that ‘Jews control Hollywood.’ But here’s one Jew who doesn’t.—Joel Stein
Michael Eisner, ex-Disney chief, and one of Hollywood’s most powerful satraps, was succeeded by Robert Iger, also Jewish-American.
December 19, 2008
I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO UPSET BY A POLL IN MY LIFE. Only 22% of Americans now believe “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.
How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.
The person they were yelling at in that ad was SAG President Alan Rosenberg (take a guess). The scathing rebuttal to the ad was written by entertainment super-agent Ari Emanuel (Jew with Israeli parents) on the Huffington Post, which is owned by Arianna Huffington (not Jewish and has never worked in Hollywood.)
The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.
As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you’d be flipping between “The 700 Club” and “Davey and Goliath” on TV all day.
So I’ve taken it upon myself to re-convince America that Jews run Hollywood by launching a public relations campaign, because that’s what we do best. I’m weighing several slogans, including: “Hollywood: More Jewish than ever!”; “Hollywood: From the people who brought you the Bible”; and “Hollywood: If you enjoy TV and movies, then you probably like Jews after all.”
I called ADL Chairman Abe Foxman, who was in Santiago, Chile, where, he told me to my dismay, he was not hunting Nazis. He dismissed my whole proposition, saying that the number of people who think Jews run Hollywood is still too high. The ADL poll, he pointed out, showed that 59% of Americans think Hollywood execs “do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans,” and 43% think the entertainment industry is waging an organized campaign to “weaken the influence of religious values in this country.”
That’s a sinister canard, Foxman said. “It means they think Jews
meet at Canter’s Deli on Friday mornings to decide what’s best for the Jews.” Foxman’s argument made me rethink: I have to eat at Canter’s more often.
“That’s a very dangerous phrase, ‘Jews control Hollywood.’ What is true is that there are a lot of Jews in Hollywood,” he said. Instead of “control,” Foxman would prefer people say that many executives in the industry “happen to be Jewish,” as in “all eight major film studios are run by men who happen to be Jewish.”
But Foxman said he is proud of the accomplishments of American Jews. “I think Jews are disproportionately represented in the creative industry. They’re disproportionate as lawyers and probably medicine here as well,” he said. He argues that this does not mean that Jews make pro-Jewish movies any more than they do pro-Jewish surgery. Though other countries, I’ve noticed, aren’t so big on circumcision.
I appreciate Foxman’s concerns. And maybe my life spent in a New Jersey-New York/Bay Area-L.A. pro-Semitic cocoon has left me naive. But I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.
Joel Stein is desperate for attention. He grew up in Edison, N.J., went to Stanford and then worked for Martha Stewart for a year. After two years of fact-checking at various publications, he got hired as a sports editor at Time Out New York. Two years later he lucked into a job as a staff writer for Time magazine, where over seven and a half years he wrote a dozen cover stories on subjects such as Michael Jordan, Las Vegas, the Internet bubble and — it being Time and he being a warm body in the office — low-carb diets. Being desperate for attention, he has appeared on any TV show that asks him: VH1’s “I Love the Decade You Tell Me I Love,” HBO’s “Phoning It In,” Comedy Central’s “Reel Comedy” and E! Entertainment’s “101 Hottest Hot Hotties’ Hotness.” After teaching a class in humor writing at Princeton, he moved to L.A. at the beginning of 2005 to write a column for the Los Angeles Times. He still contributes to Time and whatever magazines allow him to. But his heart belongs to the L.A. Times reader.
* The problem, as we see it with these fellows, is one of class even more than Jewishness, per se. Class, superficiality in their grasp of world issues (they’re all rich bourgies after all), and knee-jerk fealty to the idea of Israel promulgated by the movie EXODUS conspire to make them almost automatic Zionists in most circumstances, supporters of AIPAC and other lobbies. It makes sense since they are also, almost to a man, members of the ruling class in the US and Britain and being so they support wittingly or unwittingly the neoliberal Empire project. —Ed.