Czech Jews Slam Honor for Mel Gibson

Karlovy Vary Fest Lauds Controversial Actor

By JTA

Published July 06, 2014.
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Leaders of the Czech Jewish community criticized a local film festival’s decision to honor actor and director Mel Gibson.

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Gibson is due to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Karlovy Vary film festival.

The Czech Federation of Jewish Communities said in a statement that Gibson was unworthy of the honor both because of a 2006 drunken anti-Semitic rant and because of his controversial 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ,” which some critics had called anti-Semitic.

The federation called the film “one of the most offensive movies ever shot” because of “classic stereotypes” about Jews, which may serve to “justify anti-Jewish hatred.”

Uljana Donatova, spokeswoman for the festival, held in the western spa city, said organizers respect the federation’s opinion, “but we are only assessing Mel Gibson’s career as a filmmaker,” she told AFP.

The organizers of the 49th edition of the festival, which runs from Friday to July 12, will also award a lifetime achievement award to U.S. filmmaker William Friedkin, known for his thriller “The Exorcist.”


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