The actress addressed comments she made at a New York City rally in November in a statement on her Instagram Friday
Susan Sarandon is speaking out after her controversial comments at a pro-Palestinian rally led to her being dropped by her talent agency last month.
The actress and activist, 77, posted a statement on Instagram Friday, in which she addressed the remarks she made at the Nov. 17 rally in New York City and apologized for saying that American Jews were “getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country.”
“Recently, I attended a rally alongside a diverse group of activists seeking to highlight the urgent humanitarian crisis in Gaza and call for a ceasefire. I had not planned to speak but was invited to take the stage and say a few words,” Sarandon began.
“Intending to communicate my concern for an increase in hate crimes, I said that Jewish Americans, as the targets of rising antisemitic hate, ‘are getting a taste of what it is like to be Muslim in this country, so often subjected to violence. This phrasing was a terrible mistake, as it implies that until recently Jews have been strangers to persecution, when the opposite is true,” she continued.
Added Sarandon: “As we all know, from centuries of oppression and genocide in Europe, to the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, PA, Jews have long been familiar with discrimination and religious violence which continues to this day. I deeply regret diminishing this reality and hurting people with this comment. It was my intent to show solidarity to the struggle against bigotry of all kinds, and I am sorry I failed to do so.”
Sarandon's statement ended with a promise to continue pursuing humanitarian values and to hold an open dialogue on complex issues.
“I will continue my commitment to peace, truth, justice, and compassion for all people. I hope that we can meet with love and willingness to engage in dialogue, especially with those with whom we disagree,” she wrote.
Sarandon’s statement and apology comes after PEOPLE confirmed last month that she had been dropped by her agency, UTA, after her controversial comments were widely circulated in late November.
Following Hamas' attack on Israel, which killed 1,200 people and saw around 240 Israelis taken hostage, the Israeli government launched airstrikes on Gaza that have so far killed 14,800, per CNN. Amid the conflict, data reported by ABC News in early November indicated that bias incidents both against Jewish and Muslim communities were rising.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement on Nov. 9, in which they said that in the month following the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas, “a wide variety of Americans, including public school and college students, doctors and other workers, protestors, and mosques” have submitted reports of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bias.
Meanwhile, CNN reported that The Anti Defamation League (ADL) announced on Oct. 24 that antisemitic “incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault” increased by 388% over the period between Oct. 7 and Oct. 23, in comparison to the year prior.
On Friday, a seven-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas ended. During the ceasefire, Israeli hostages kidnapped during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas were released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.
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