Flak: Richards Not a Jew, Just Jew-ish

By Dan Levin

Published December 01, 2006, issue of December 01, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

‘Seinfeld” co-star Michael Richards made headlines last week as word spread of the racist tirade he had unleashed at two African American audience members during a recent Los Angeles comedy club gig.

But just as the story was beginning to fade, new reports surfaced alleging that Richards had spewed antisemitic comments at a different club earlier in the year. According to witnesses, Richards yelled anti-Jewish vitriol toward an audience member, saying: “You’re a f***ing Jew. Your people are the cause of Jesus dying.”

As the list of offended and outraged minorities grew, Richards hired damage-control guru Howard Rubenstein to do some much-needed triage. But then, events took an even stranger turn.

Arguing that Richards is Jewish, Rubenstein — whose public relations firm lists such clients as the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Yankees — confirmed for the New York Post that while Richards had made the antisemitic remarks in question, he is no antisemite.

“He is Jewish and he said, ‘I’m absolutely not anti-Semitic,’” the Post quoted Rubenstein as having said. “He acknowledged that he said those things. He said that he was role-playing and playing a character. He said, ‘There is no way I’m anti-Jewish.’”

Trouble is, Richards, in fact, is not Jewish. An article published last week in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal quoted an unnamed television director as saying that the actor was raised Catholic and is “very involved in the Masons.”

Faced with evidence that Richards is not Jewish, Rubenstein hedged.

“He said to me he has adopted the Jewish religion as his belief, but he wasn’t born Jewish,” Rubenstein said, adding that while Richards does not practice Judaism, he has had some “Jewish advisers” in the past.

Like who? Jerry Seinfeld?






Find us on Facebook!
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.