July 26, 2010 | 10:53 am
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Mel, who? Oliver Stone just became the new enemy of the Jewish establishment.
The controversial Oscar-winning film director told the UK’s Sunday Times he believes Jewish domination of the media has prevented honest discussion about the Holocaust. He also said he thinks Hitler is a misunderstood figure, and hopes his upcoming film about the German dictator will present a more nuanced view of the WWII villain “in context.”
Apparently, the director is peeved that six million Jews get all the attention when Hitler killed a lot more Russians. “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 [million killed],” he told the Sunday Times. Now that’s context.
Stone was equally generous in his praise of AIPAC (though he doesn’t mention the organization by name), complaining that the lobby has had too much influence over American foreign policy.
“There’s a major lobby in the United States,” Stone said, “they are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington.”
Although Jewish control of the media is an old refrain, it feels especially strange coming from Stone, who is half-Jewish and was almost named Oliver Silverstein. According to a 1997 profile of Stone in The Washington Post, “William Oliver Stone was born into a well-connected world of privilege and polish, in New York City.” His father, the Jewish stockbroker Louis Stone changed his name from Silverstein before matriculating at Yale, and married Stone’s mother, a French girl and a baker’s daughter named Jacqueline Goddet.
But Stone’s childhood was anything but refined. In his 1997 novel “A Child’s Night Dream,” Stone draws upon the psychic damage of his upbringing to reveal a family life that was lonely and bizarre, full of strange demons. Plenty of Jewish boys have mother issues, for instance, but Stone’s took on an unhealthy Oedipal degree: “The Oliver Stone of the novel,” writer Lloyd Grove wrote, “is suicidal, sadistic, wounded, fragile and sexually obsessed with his mother.”
His father, whom Stone portrays as a cynical narcissist, was equally influential. “In the book, Lou Stone is an emotionally detached man who relies on scotch and call girls, and when it comes to women he instructs his son: ‘Find ‘em, [expletive] ‘em and forget ‘em,’” Grove wrote. Stone was a young 15 when his parents divorced, and the news – delivered secondhand from his boarding school headmaster, devastated him.
But his parents’ impact lingered long after their split. In 2008, Stone told AMC’s Movie Blog, “The main motivation to make Wall Street was my father.” In the interview, Stone describes a disapproving parent who ridiculed his choices and disparaged his lack of business acumen. “He thought I was a bum,” Stone said, explaining, “When I was working on ‘Wall Street’, I felt my dad was sort of around in a ghostlike form, watching over me and laughing, because here is the idiot son who doesn’t know anything about the stock market, who can barely add and subtract, doing a film with the grandiose title Wall Street.”
Even if he disappointed his father, Stone is still a veritable force in today’s Hollywood. And as a major filmmaker, he should know that the current media world is not controlled by individual moguls the way Hollywood once was, but by massive and competitive media empires. So savvy as many Jews are, the notion that one group could dominate the landscape is somewhat untenable.
Besides, most Americans would disagree with Stone. According to a 2008 poll released by the Anti-Defamation League, most Americans no longer believe Jews control Hollywood. On the contrary, the poll found that 43-percent of respondents said they believe there is an organized campaign by the national media to “weaken the influence of religious values.” Not exactly the best evidence for swelling Jewish political control.
Earlier today, ADL National Director Abe Foxman condemned Stone’s comments, saying the director has “shown his conspiratorial colors.”
“His words conjure up some of the most stereotypical and conspiratorial notions of undue Jewish power and influence,” Foxman said.
Two years ago, while I was interviewing film director Brett Ratner, the writer/director James Toback aired his belief in the decline of Jewish control of Hollywood:
“Jews used to run Hollywood,” Toback said. “But what we see now is the diminishing of Jews in power.”
Toback proceeded to rattle off the names of media moguls.
“Rupert Murdoch, not a Jew; Bob Iger, not a Jew ....”
(For the record: Iger, head of The Walt Disney Co., is a Jew.)
“Walt Disney hated Jews,” Ratner said.
“Sumner Redstone is a Jew, but he’d probably like not to be, since his real name is Sumner Rothstein, but he is a Jew, so that’s one, but then Kerkorian—well, Kerkorian is out of the business now. There are so few f—-ing places with Jews left. Oh and Sony,” Toback added.
I mentioned Amy Pascal, co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“I’m talking about the corporate control,” Toback fired back. “Amy Pascal is an employee—the people who can fire Amy Pascal.”
“The Jews have lost ownership of the movie business,” Toback declared.
Let’s not jump to conclusions, though: As long as Oliver Stone keeps working, we’ve got at least one Jew right where we need him.
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