Julianna Margulies apologizes for statements about Black, LGBTQ+ solidarity with Palestinians

Julianna Margulies apologized for her comments about Black and LGBTQ+ communities amid the Israel-Hamas war.
Julianna Margulies apologized for her comments about Black and LGBTQ+ communities amid the Israel-Hamas war.

Julianna Margulies has apologized for her comments linking a perceived lack of support for Jewish people to Black and LGBTQ+ communities' support of Palestinians amid the Israel-Hamas war.

"I am horrified by the fact that statements I made on a recent podcast offended the Black and LGBTQIA+ communities, communities I truly love and respect," Margulies said in a statement to Deadline and The Washington Post over the weekend. “I want to be 100% clear: Racism, homophobia, sexism, or any prejudice against anyone’s personal beliefs or identity are abhorrent to me, full stop."

She added: "Throughout my career I have worked tirelessly to combat hate of all kinds, end antisemitism, speak out against terrorist groups like Hamas, and forge a united front against discrimination. I did not intend for my words to sow further division, for which I am sincerely apologetic."

USA TODAY has reached out to reps for Margulies for comment.

On the Nov. 20 episode of "The Back Room with Andy Ostroy" podcast, Margulies, who is Jewish, said she did not feel groups she and others had supported in the past reciprocated after Hamas' attack on Oct. 7. The actress cited her support for Black communities following the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and her previous participation in a same-sex marriage campaign with her husband Keith Lieberthal in 2011.

More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war broke out nearly two months ago, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. About 1,200 Israelis have been killed, mostly civilians during Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

"The fact that the entire Black community isn’t standing with us, to me, says either they just don’t know or they’ve been brainwashed to hate Jews," she said on the podcast, adding, "In the civil rights movement, the Jews were the ones that walked side by side with the Blacks to fight for their rights."

She said a "Black lesbian club" at Columbia University "put signs up that said, ‘No Jews allowed,'" for a recent movie screening. "As someone who plays a lesbian journalist on 'The Morning Show,' I am more offended by it as a lesbian than I am as a Jew."

Speaking of the club, Margulies said she wanted to call them "idiots," continuing, "You don’t exist. You’re even lower than the Jews. A. You’re Black, and B. You’re gay and you’re turning your back against the people who support you?"

According to the university's student newspaper The Columbia Spectator, there were fliers placed ahead of a screening by the LionLez club that read, "It’s FREE PALESTINE over here. Zionists aren’t invited."

Julianna Margulies portrays a lesbian on "The Morning Show" with Reese Witherspoon.
Julianna Margulies portrays a lesbian on "The Morning Show" with Reese Witherspoon.

Margulies added that support for Palestinians among LGBTQ+ people, particularly those who are nonbinary, did not make sense to her. "It’s those people that will be the first people beheaded and their heads played with like a soccer ball, like a soccer ball on the field. And that’s who they’re supporting? Terrorists who don’t want women to have their rights?" she said.

Her comments led to widespread backlash. Social media users called her them breath-taking, disgusting, racist and condescending.

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"Wish I could say that Julianna Margulies' racist rant against Black people is an outlier. But as I've said before, I've heard this same sentiment from supposedly liberal circles. Solidarity w/ Black people is transactional. We are supposed to be grateful charity recipients," Washington Post opinion columnist Karen Attiah, wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "Julianna Margulies' rant, not only reinforces racist anti-Arab / Islamophobic tropes, but is also an attempt to remind Black people who stick up for Palestinians of their low place in the racial pecking order. And people still want to claim race has nothing to do with this."

Contributing: Christopher Cann, Jeanine Santucci, Joey Garrison and Minnah Arshad

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Julianna Margulies comments on Israel draw backlash, prompt apology