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Amid Outcry, Academy Museum to Revise Exhibit on Hollywood’s Jewish Roots

When the museum first opened, it was criticized for omitting Hollywood’s Jewish pioneers. Now it is under fire for what its new exhibit says about them.

When the popular Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opened in 2021 with exhibits celebrating the diversity of the film industry, the museum was criticized for having largely omitted one group: the Jewish founders of Hollywood.

Last month, the museum aimed to correct that oversight by opening a permanent new exhibition highlighting the formative role that Jewish immigrants like Samuel Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer played in creating the American film industry.

But the new exhibition, which turns a sometimes critical eye on Hollywood’s founders, ignited an uproar. An open letter that a group called United Jewish Writers sent to the museum on Monday objected to the use of words including “tyrant,” “oppressive,” “womanizer” and “predator” in its wall text, called the exhibit “antisemitic” and described it as “the only section of the museum that vilifies those it purports to celebrate.”

In response to the growing outcry, the Academy Museum said in a statement Monday that it had “heard the concerns from members of the Jewish community” and that it was “committed to making changes to the exhibition to address them.”

“We will be implementing the first set of changes immediately — they will allow us to tell these important stories without using phrasing that may unintentionally reinforce stereotypes,” the museum said.

The museum announced the changes just before receiving the open letter, which was signed by more than 300 Hollywood professionals. “While we acknowledge the value in confronting Hollywood’s problematic past, the despicable double standard of the Jewish Founders exhibit, blaming only the Jews for that problematic past, is unacceptable and, whether intentional or not, antisemitic,” said the letter. “We call on the Academy Museum to thoroughly redo this exhibit so that it celebrates the Jewish founders of Hollywood with the same respect and enthusiasm granted to those celebrated throughout the rest of the museum.”

The signatories included the entertainment executive Casey Wasserman, the actor David Schwimmer and the television writer Amy Sherman-Palladino.

“This is not unconscious bias, this is conscious bias,” one of the signers, Lawrence Bender, who produced Quentin Tarantino’s films, said in an interview. “It feels like a hatchet job on the Jews.”

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by Anonymousreply 14June 11, 2024 8:29 PM

Basically, Hollywood wants a propaganda exhibit. You can’t make this up. Samuel Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer were great bosses?! lmfao. Good grief.

by Anonymousreply 1June 11, 2024 2:14 PM

The original moguls were NOT nice people

However, an exhibition specifically tying their Jewishness to Hollywood’s founding and including these descriptions of them is unfathomable

How in the Claudine Gay could this have happened?

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by Anonymousreply 2June 11, 2024 2:23 PM

They built the industry, R1. Fuck Off, antisemite.

by Anonymousreply 3June 11, 2024 2:24 PM

R1 The problem people are having is that these criticisms seem to be reserved exclusively for the people in the Jewish exhibit, when it's widely known that nearly every male Hollywood higher up and even director and actor were enormously problematic back then.

An enduring aspect of antisemitism is Jews and Israel being held to standards that the rest of the world is not.

by Anonymousreply 4June 11, 2024 2:25 PM

Notice a pattern?

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by Anonymousreply 5June 11, 2024 2:28 PM

Jewish immigrants created Hollywood. So they should be prominent in this museum. Imagine an NBA museum without black players honored. However would it be necessary to discuss every scandal, crime, bankruptcy in the player’s life?

This museum has been a disaster from day 1 with a trigger warning…woke crew running it. Could they be more clueless?

by Anonymousreply 6June 11, 2024 2:57 PM

[quote] The original moguls were NOT nice people

Yet enabled the making of generations of great films

by Anonymousreply 7June 11, 2024 3:01 PM

R7, that’s debatable. Hollywood always churned out popcorn crap usually ripped off from Britain and others. It was never considered art.

by Anonymousreply 8June 11, 2024 4:19 PM

[Quote] However, an exhibition specifically tying their Jewishness to Hollywood’s founding and including these descriptions of them is unfathomable

Who says it did that?

This is the old canard “if you criticize a group of people who are Jewish you’re antisemitic.” It’s being used now as well as a conversation-hijacker when Israel’s murderous ethnic cleaning campaign in Gaza is condemned.

by Anonymousreply 9June 11, 2024 4:23 PM

R4, that makes absolutely no sense. The truth hurts. Tough. Reality doesn’t care about feelings. They want a propaganda piece. The Left and especially Hollywood keeps pushing this shit - rewrite history to fit our narrative. The way actors were treated in Hollywood during the Golden Age was horrendous. The studios were run by rapists and goddamn pedophiles with mob ties. They abused and used everyone. This isn’t simply a knock at their personal lives. They literally had beds in their offices to fuck their female stars. This was Hollywood, the business. Hollywood’s history is a horrible one. Demanding it be covered up is unacceptable but it’s Hollywood, a place that has covered up almost as many crimes as the Catholic Church.

by Anonymousreply 10June 11, 2024 4:24 PM

No one is denying that R10. What they are objecting to is that the non-Jewish leaders of Hollywood are not being described that way at the museum.

Any guesses as to why the other tyrants of Hollywood, the non Jewish ones, have no such descriptors R10?

by Anonymousreply 11June 11, 2024 5:40 PM

[quote]The Left and especially Hollywood keeps pushing this shit - rewrite history to fit our narrative.

How do they do this? What films have rewritten history to fit a "narrative"? Have any films ever rewritten history to make conservatives and Republicans look great?

by Anonymousreply 12June 11, 2024 5:43 PM

You don’t have to censor the truth but you don’t have to focus on negatives. MLK Jr was an adulterer and womanizer. Does that have to be mentioned in every reference to him?

by Anonymousreply 13June 11, 2024 6:37 PM

[quote]The Left and especially Hollywood keeps pushing this shit - rewrite history to fit our narrative.

Cognitive dissonance without parallel. You do get that the objection the United Jewish Writers had was that history was in fact being re-written to make the Jews who made Hollywood into the bad guys and completely ignored and glossed over the fact that there were far worse people in the industry then (and now)? But I'm not going to let you get away with this gem:

[quote]but it’s Hollywood, a place that has covered up almost as many crimes as the Catholic Church.

Oh really? PROVE IT, asshole.

We'll wait.

by Anonymousreply 14June 11, 2024 8:29 PM
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