A group of Jewish entertainment figures has united by signing an open letter addressed to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. With the 2024 Oscars just two months away, hundreds of industry members, including Josh Gad, Mayim Bialik, David Schwimmer, Julianna Margulies, Debra Messing, Michael Rapaport, Tiffany Haddish, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Iliza Shlesinger, are expressing their dissatisfaction with the exclusion of Jews as a specified underrepresented group in the Academy’s diversity standards.
In the open letter, the group, organized by Jew in the City’s Hollywood Bureau for Jewish Representation, applauds the Academy’s efforts to promote diverse and authentic storytelling but criticizes the exclusion of Jews, describing it as steeped in and misunderstanding antisemitism. The letter argues that this omission erases Jewish identity and perpetuates misconceptions about Jewish whiteness, power, and the belief that racism against Jews is a thing of the past.
The letter highlights the misconception that Jews are over-represented in films, emphasizing the scarcity of films about Jewish themes beyond those related to the Holocaust. It points out the rarity of Jewish characters being portrayed by Jewish actors, a practice uncommon for other marginalized groups. The letter contends that Hollywood has historically embraced a specific type of Jew, excluding those who do not conform to a toned-down image.
The signatories request the inclusion of Jewish people in the Motion Picture Academy’s Representation and Inclusion Standards. They argue that the Academy has an opportunity to combat antisemitism by establishing a framework for nuanced and authentic representation. The letter asserts that the entertainment industry has a responsibility to depict Jews in a complete and human manner to foster understanding and empathy, especially in these challenging times.
The group calls on the Motion Picture Academy leadership to contribute to advancing a just cause that has been overlooked for too long. As of now, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not responded to requests for comment from The Messenger.