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Billionaire Haim Saban crusades against Oliver Stone [UPDATED]

by Danielle Berrin

July 28, 2010 | 6:34 am

Media mogul Haim Saban is refusing to accept Oliver Stone’s apology.

The Israeli-American billionaire is reportedly campaigning among Hollywood’s higher-ups to have Stone—and his upcoming 10-part series, “A Secret History of America,” blacklisted. According to TheWrap.com, Saban called CBS chief Les Moonves to urge him to cancel the Showtime series, becoming the first industry figurehead to criticize the director’s controversial remarks from earlier this week.

“This guy should be helped in joining Mel Gibson into the land of retirement, where he can preach his anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in the wilderness where he belongs,” Saban told TheWrap.

On Sunday, Stone said his “Secret History” series would portray Hitler “in context” and suggested the Holocaust wasn’t only a Jewish problem since Hitler killed many more Russians than Jews. Stone also blamed the power and influence of the Israel lobby AIPAC for a compromised U.S. foreign policy.

Saban, who is a huge supporter of Israel and a major donor to the Democratic party, told The Wrap.com by email that he had also called William Morris Endeavor chairman Ari Emanuel to help pressure CBS. Emanuel famously castigated Mel Gibson, calling for an industry-wide boycott of his work in the wake of Gibson’s 2006 anti-Semitic rant.

That Saban is launching a crusade against Stone isn’t surprising: In a New Yorker profile of Saban published last May, Saban said, “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”

On the Huffington Post, Saban wrote a brief statement that generated hundreds of comments:

Oliver Stone should be given a helping hand—indeed, a vigorous shove—into the land of forced retirement. There, in the professional wilderness where he belongs, standing on a splintered soapbox right next to Mel Gibson’s, he can preach his anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism into the wind.

Anyone who works with this guy should be ashamed of himself/herself, and shouldn’t share this distasteful fact with their neighbors—and especially their kids.

Some readers were quick to defend Stone, claiming that as a U.S. veteran he has a right to criticize the country’s foreign policy. Others suggested Stone helm the Hollywood movie about the Gaza flotilla debacle, which spawned a series of comments criticizing Israel. A commenter named Debbie McPherson wrote, “So many of us are so tired of the whole jew/Israeli/holocaust rant.”

What she meant to say was, she’s only tired of hearing people defend the Jews and Israel; she’s got all the patience in the world for those who are either anti-Israel or anti-Semitic.

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