Posted on January 11, 2024

Jewish Entertainers Excoriate the Oscars for Excluding Jews From Its New Diversity Standards

Ishita Srivastava, Daily Mail, January 10, 2024

Over 260 Jewish Hollywood artists have sent the Academy Awards a letter claiming that they are being excluded from its diversity standards.

The letter, which states the exclusion is ‘discriminatory,’ was created by the Jew in the City’s Hollywood Bureau for Jewish Representation and was sent to the Academy yesterday.

It has been signed by actors including David Schwimmer, Debra Messing, Ginnifer Goodwin, Mayim Bialik and Josh Gad; comedians, writers and producers.

In 2020, notably after George Floyd’s death, the Academy issued a set of ‘standards’ as part of its diversity initiative.

These standards recognized commonly ‘underrepresented’ identities, including women, the LGBTQ, an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, or those with cognitive or physical disabilities.

Some of the racial groups include Asian, Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American, Indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native, Middle Eastern/North African and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. Religions are not included in the standards.

As of this year, movies will only be nominated in the Oscars’ Best Picture category if one of the lead actors or a significant supporting actor is from one of the underrepresented racial or ethnic groups in the Academy’s list.

The letter starts by stating: ‘While we applaud the Academy’s efforts to increase diverse and authentic storytelling, an inclusion effort that excludes Jews is both steeped in and misunderstands antisemitism.

‘It erases Jewish peoplehood and perpetuates myths of Jewish whiteness, power, and that racism against Jews is not a major issue or that it’s a thing of the past.

‘Systemic racism against Jews in the United States included segregation, redlining, quotas, and gatekeeping, and was the motivation for the founders of Hollywood to start an industry where antisemitism wouldn’t harm them.’

The letter highlights that Jewish people are an ethnic group and not just a religion. It also states that Jews are indigenous to the Middle East and have been in the region for over 3000 years.

It argues that there are very few films about Jews, apart from ones based on the Holocaust and that when Jewish characters are featured, they are often played by non-Jews.

The letter further criticizes last year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, Everything Everywhere All at Once, for propagating Jewish stereotypes.

‘One of last year’s Oscar winners, “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” cast a Jewish woman to play a stereotypical “Jewish American Princess” called “Big Nose”,’ it read.

The open letter, which includes Tiffany Haddish, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Marta Kauffman, Josh Dallas and Iliza Schlesinger as some of the leading signatures, has demanded that Jews be added to the Representation and Inclusion Standards set by the Academy.

‘A space like this has never existed for Jews in Hollywood, and the Motion Picture Academy has an opportunity to combat Jew-hatred by creating a framework for nuanced and authentic representation,’ the letter read.

This comes in the middle of the ongoing Israel and Hamas war that began on October 7, 2023.

The Academy has not yet commented on the letter.