March 18, 2008
It was supposed to be a secular night. A Hollywood premiere and drinks at the Chateau Marmont felt safely removed from Jewish purview, and I even felt relief at not having to ‘talk Jewish’ for an evening.
But Hollywood, as we’ve heard stigmatized many times, teems with Jews, so it’s hard to escape the fact that premiere parties could make minyans, and that being Jewish in Hollywood is like a racial stamp, impossible to avoid.
The search for Jews-who-run-Hollywood during an evening that included the second-season premiere of “The Riches” at the Pacific Design Center on Mar. 16, evinced a disturbing reality: an anti-Semitic Hitler admirer wanted to talk about the Jews more than a Hollywood Jew wanted to talk about his Jewishness.
That Jew is Jason Weinberg, manager and power player, oft reputed to be the best in the business. He’s known for his A-list client roster which includes Naomi Watts, Demi Moore, Lindsay Lohan and Madonna. Hilary Swank thanked him during her Oscar acceptance speech—even though she forgot to mention her (then) husband.
For Weinberg, the premiere after-party was business as usual. He sat close to client Minnie Driver, the evening’s star, coaching her through the whirlwind of attention, the lavished praise, the putrid politics.
“I love the Jews,” Weinberg said. But he shied away from my request for an interview.
Away from the tense atmosphere of the Hollywood crush, in the polished courtyard of the Chateau Marmont, my friend and I were confronted with an elderly man known as “Herz.” Herz had been affronting female guests and hotel staff with unsolicited molestation.
He approached our table, interrupting our gorging on french fries and caesar salad to bring champagne.
Herz, it turned out, was visiting Los Angeles from Austria, born in the same region—he proudly noted—as Adolf Eichmann and Adolf Hitler.
“Uncle Adolf, I used to call him,” Herz said about Hitler. “Eichmann was an a—hole, but Hitler was a nice man.”
What did you do during wartime, I asked with some trepidation.
“Banking,” Herz replied. “I was on the board of a Jewish Merchant Bank in England,” he said. “The Jews gave me my first Rolls Royce.”
“But Jews aren’t normal like us,” he continued. “For Jews, money is God.”
That was when we abandoned our perfect french fries and headed for the door.
Since Herz has apparently made a name for himself in the few weeks he’s been staying at the Chateau, management was aware of his indiscretions—but not his anti-Semitism. A lovely woman by the name of Angela apologized for our unpleasant experience and tore up our bill.
On our way down the stairs, feeling put off by the whole evening, my friend said, “At least we got a free meal.” It was only a moment before we realized what that meant.