Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Academy Museum shows how "intersectionality" marginalizes and discriminates against Jews

Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack Warner - the Warner Brothers

Rolling Stone covers the controversy around the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures erasing Jews out of the history of Hollywood.

On Sept. 25, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures held its opening gala with a starry guest list that included Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Queen Latifah, Patty Jenkins, Tiffany Haddish, Kristen Stewart, and Jurnee Smollet. ..... Donors and influential Academy members, many of whom already had received private tours, were outraged that Hollywood’s origin story — wherein a group of mostly Jewish émigrés fled persecution in their home countries to create what would become a multibillion-dollar, American-led industry — was conspicuously absent.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who was on hand for the gala, was immediately struck by the lapse. “I would’ve hoped that any honest historical assessment of the motion picture industry — its origins, its development, its growth — would include the role that Jews played in building the industry from the ground up,” he says. “As I walked through, I literally turned to the person I was there with and said to him, ‘Where are the Jews?’ The omission was glaring.”

That sentiment is being echoed from Hollywood’s C-suites to the halls of academia. “It’s sort of like building a museum dedicated to Renaissance painting, and ignoring the Italians,” says Hollywood historian and Brandeis University professor Thomas Doherty. “That generation of early moguls — Carl Laemmle, Jack Warner, we know all their names — is a terrific story of upward mobility, living the American dream. It’s one of the great contributions of American Jews to American culture.”

Behind the scenes, a full revolt was afoot, sources say, with some patrons threatening to pull future support for the institution. Says one prominent Academy member who declined to be named: “You left the museum with the impression that the film industry was created 10 years ago. They erased the past. And I find it appalling.”
How did this happen? The details show how "wokeism" is in fact antisemitic.
Sources say a small contingent of influential Academy members pushed hard for nonwhite cinema to be highlighted and white contributions to be de-emphasized. A review of the exhibits would seem to support this notion. Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, for example, received a retrospective, while there was no similar treatment for the genre’s godfather, Walt Disney.

The relative obscurity of others spotlighted, such as Ethiopian director Haile Gerima, who received the museum’s first Vanguard Award, left some patrons scratching their heads. 

If identity was a priority in programming, Jewish identity apparently was not. There is scant mention of Jewish trailblazers.

A source who is familiar with programming decisions says it was a battle no one was willing to fight, even if that meant a skewed overview of cinema history: “A lot of people who might have fought harder for the representation of Jews were just really laying low,” says the source.
The museum will try to make up for this with a future, permanent exhibition highlighting Hollywood's history (that wasn't originally intended to be permanent.) But the damage has been done.
“By not including the founding fathers out of the gate, they were making a massive statement,” says Triller co-founder and Academy member Ryan Kavanaugh. “As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, it’s just shocking that they erased the contributions of a group who faced severe anti-Semitism — they couldn’t get bank loans, they couldn’t own homes in L.A., and yet they still created this industry that is the bedrock of the L.A. economy and touches people around the world. Instead of, ‘Look at what what they were able to do,’ it’s just wiped out. It goes against everything that our industry says they stand for.
Hollywood was built by Jews who were marginalized by society which forced them to create an entire new industry. Now, the small but loud bullies who dominate the woke, intersectional conversation decided that Jews should be marginalized again.

It is wonderful to highlight the contributions of minorities to motion pictures. It is antisemitic to airbrush out the Jews who created the entire industry.

(h/t Brad)