Spanish actors Javier Bardem and his wife Penelope Cruz are receiving flak from Hollywood after they signed an open letter that states that Israel’s actions in Gaza are tantamount to “genocide”. The Spanish letter contained the signatures of 100 film professionals, including director Pedro Almodovar, calling for the European Union to end all actions by Israel against Gaza. However, many Hollywood executives are seeing this move by Bardem and Cruz as anti-Semitic and some are threatening to never work with them again.
Ryan Kavanaugh, chief executive of Relativity Media, was the only executive who went public about his opinion on Bardem and Cruz. He said, “As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I know that anyone calling what’s going on in Israel 'genocide' versus self-defence is either ignorant and shouldn’t be commenting, or is truly anti-Semitic."
He further related that within 24 hours of making this statement, he had received over 500 calls, text messages and e-mails of support, which implies that his is a popular sentiment in Hollywood.
Other unnamed execs have spoken to The Hollywood Reporter against the Spanish couple. One questioned whether he would ever be able to work with Bardem or Cruz again, and another who had worked with Cruz before privately vowed that it would not happen again.
Actor Jon Voight weighed in by writing his own open letter, saying that Bardem and Cruz should “hang their heads in shame” for contributing to the “anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world,” but added that the couple shouldn’t be blacklisted for work.
Meanwhile, both Bardem and Cruz have sought to clarify their positions, with little success. “My signature was solely meant as a plea for peace. Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction,” Bardem said. "While I was critical of the Israeli military response, I have great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses.”