Gary Oldman's apology after anti-Semitic accusations: Jews 'surely are the chosen people'

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman has issued an apology after being accused of anti-Semitism following comments he made in an interview with Playboy magazine.

The actor was criticised by the Anti-Defamation League after suggesting there had been an overreaction to Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic remarks and that he had been unfairly turned into a Hollywood "outcast" and "leper".

Oldman called Gibson's critics "f***ing hypocrites" as he suggested they were probably saying similar things in private.

"But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn't turned and said, 'That fu*king kraut' or 'F*ck those Germans,' whatever it is?" he said in the Playboy interview.

"We all hide and try to be so politically correct. That's what gets me. It's just the sheer hypocrisy of everyone, that we all stand on this thing going, 'Isn't that shocking?'"

The Anti-Defamation League's national director Abraham H Foxman criticised Oldman's comments, saying Gibson's ostracism in Hollywood was "not a matter of being 'politically incorrect' as Mr Oldman suggests, but of paying the consequences for outing himself as a bigot and a hater".

"It is disturbing that Mr Oldman appears to have bought into Mr Gibson's warped and prejudiced world view," he said.

Gibson was accused of anti-Semitism for his portrayal of the trial and execution of Jesus in his Passion of the Christ movie, before later becoming the centre of controversy in 2006 over a drunken rant in which he was reported to have told a sheriff's deputy: "F***ing Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

In his apology, Oldman said he was "deeply remorseful" about the "insensitive" comments he made in the Playboy interview.

He went on to say that the film industry and his career owed an "enormous debt" to Jews for their contribution to Hollywood.

"I have an enormous personal affinity for the Jewish people in general, and those specifically in my life. The Jewish people, persecuted through the ages, are the first to hear God's voice, and surely are the chosen people," he wrote.