By now, you've seen the headlines and read the remarks made by Gary Oldman in the latest issue of Playboy, and no, we're not talking about his desire to work with Paul Thomas Anderson or how much he liked "True Detective." Rather, Oldman's comments in the lad mag interview about Mel Gibson, Alec Baldwin and Hollywood hypocrisy when it comes to prejudice and bigotry, quickly gained traction and it wasn't long until the Anti-Defamation League called out the actor for giving "credence to tired anti-Semitic tropes" and appearing "to have bought into Mr. Gibson’s warped and prejudiced world view.”
Responses to the incident have been interesting—both Mike Fleming at Deadline and Dave Poland at The Hot Blog have considered thoughts on the matter—and here's the thing that's unfortunate with interviews, whether they are hours long or a quick fifteen minute talk at a junket: you only get one chance to answer a question, and it's on the spot. And so, when Playboy in the latter half of the interview asks, "What do you think about what [Mel Gibson's] gone through these past few years?," Oldman—clearly comfortable with writer David Hochman — dives into an answer.
And while the resulting response reads no better today than it did yesterday (or will tomorrow), what has been lost in the blog cycle (which admittedly The Playlist is part of) is that the comments in question were part of a larger narrative about "political correctness" and hypocrisy in Hollywood. I may not necessarily agree with Oldman and am still working out what exactly he was trying to get at, but it's very easy for whatever nuance there might have been to get lost, and for a subject as complex as Mel Gibson, Hollywood culture, bigotry and more, I'm sure Oldman would've preferred more time to put this feelings together in a more reasoned and thoughtful manner.
But what do you think? Has the press been too hard on Oldman? Read the actor's apology below via Deadline:
Dear Gentlemen of the ADL:
I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy Interview were offensive to many Jewish people. Upon reading my comments in print—I see how insensitive they may be, and how they may indeed contribute to the furtherance of a false stereotype. Anything that contributes to this stereotype is unacceptable, including my own words on the matter. If, during the interview, I had been asked to elaborate on this point I would have pointed out that I had just finished reading Neal Gabler’s superb book about the Jews and Hollywood, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood. The fact is that our business, and my own career specifically, owes an enormous debt to that contribution.
I hope you will know that this apology is heartfelt, genuine, and that I have an enormous personal affinity for the Jewish people in general, and those specifically in my life. The Jewish People, persecuted thorough the ages, are the first to hear God’s voice, and surely are the chosen people.
I would like to sign off with “Shalom Aleichem”—but under the circumstances, perhaps today I lose the right to use that phrase, so I will wish you all peace–Gary Oldman.