Actress Susan Sarandon apologized on Friday night for claiming Jewish people ‘are getting a taste of what it feels like to be Muslim’ amid the war with Hamas.
Sarandon’s remarks at a November 17 pro-Palestine rally in New York City sparked widespread outrage, with critics saying they ignored the centuries of prejudice and antisemitism the Jewish community has endured.
The 77-year-old Oscar-winning actress was dropped by her Hollywood representative, United Talent Agency, which is run by Jewish CEO Jeremy Zimmer. UTA had represented Sarandon since 2014.
On Friday, she said she said her remarks last month were ‘a terrible mistake’.
‘This phrasing was a terrible mistake, as it implies that until recently Jews have been strangers to persecution, when the opposite is true,’ she said.
Speaking at a protest on November 17, Susan Sarandon said frightened Jews in America are ‘getting a taste’ of how it feels to be Muslim
Sarandon posted her apology on Instagram on Friday evening
She said the rally was ‘to highlight the urgent humanitarian crisis in Gaza and call for a ceasefire,’ and said she had not planned to speak at the gathering, but was invited to address the crowd.
‘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 a Muslim in this country, so often subjected to violence.”
Sarandon said her words ignored ‘centuries of oppression and genocide in Europe’ as well as recent atrocities, such as the Tree of Life synagogue attack, which saw 11 murdered in October 2018 in Pittsburgh – the worst attack on the Jewish community in modern US history.
Sarandon added: ‘I deeply regret diminishing this reality and hurting people with this comment.
‘It was my intent to show solidarity in the struggle against bigotry of all kinds, and I am sorry I failed to do so.’
Since the October 7 terror attack by Hamas, which killed 1,200 Israelis, and the reprisals in Gaza, which have killed 15,000 Palestinians, Sarandon has attended several rallies in New York.
The veteran left-wing activist has been filmed joining in the chant ‘from the river to the sea,’ a battle cry used by pro-Palestinian activists and Hamas alike that many view as an anti-Semitic call for the destruction of Israel.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show star has also retweeted posts on X celebrating Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who has been dogged for years with allegations of anti-Semitism.
Susan Sarandon is seen at a pro-Palestine rally in New York City last month. She attended another over the weekend, where she was seen chanting ‘from the river to the sea,’ which has been branded an anti-Semitic phrase that calls for the destruction of Israel
Journalist Asra Nomani was among those criticizing Sarandon for her comments.
Sharing a photo of herself with her parents, Nomani said: ‘Hi there Susan Sarandon, this is my mom, my dad and me on the rail trail in Morgantown, West by God Virginia. let me tell you what it means to be Muslim in America.
‘My dad didn’t have to become a second-class indentured servant to one of the many tyrants of Muslim countries that use immigrants from India, like my family, as essential slaves… my dad got a job as an assistant professor of nutrition.
‘He got rejected first for tenure but being Muslim in America meant he got a right like everybody got — his right to appeal and guess what? He won and he became a full professor.
‘My mom? Being Muslim in America meant she got to live FREE with the wind in her hair, like Masih Alinejad fights for women in the Muslim nation of Iran to be able to enjoy.’
She went on to describe how she was able to give birth safely and freely to a baby out of wedlock in America – something that would have led to her death in some Muslim countries.
Asra Nomani, born in India to Muslim parents, responded to Sarandon on Twitter with a list of the freedoms she and her parents enjoy in the US
Backlash: There is mounting fury over Sarandon’s remarks
‘Where do you think I came to give birth to my baby in safety and security, without shame? West by God Virginia in the United States of America — where we enjoy equal rights as Muslim AmeriCANs, not AmeriCANTs.
‘This is a “taste” of life for a Muslim family in America. Please don’t minimize the experience of Jewish Americans by sanitizing the hell that it is for Muslims living in Muslim countries and vilifying America for the life — and freedoms — she offers Muslims like my family.
‘Go, live like a Muslim woman in a Muslim country. You will come back to America and kiss the land beneath your feet,’ she said.
Others likened her remarks to those of Jane Fonda during the Vietnam War. Fonda earned herself the nickname ‘Hanoi Jane’ for her continuous condemnation of the American military effort in Vietnam.
She traveled to the region and posed atop an antiaircraft gun, something she has since apologized for.
Jane Fonda sitting on an anti-aircraft gun in Vietnam in 1972. She has since apologized for offending the families of US veterans with the photo and her remarks about the war
‘Well, well, well. The Vietnam War had Hanoi Jane. Looks like Hamas will have Gaza Susan. She should go visit them,’ said one critic.
‘Someone please inform actress Susan Sarandon that she can open a good bottle of wine and celebrate by her private pool – another death of Jewish grandpa.
‘Hamas, which she proudly supports, just announced that one of the hundreds of innocent Israelies they kidnapped – 86-year-old Aryeh Zalmanovich – was killed in captivity.
‘Does this please you Susan? Does this fill your heart with joy?’ said another.
There has been a sharp uptick in both antisemitism and Islamophobia in the US since the October 7 attack and ensuing conflict.
The large majority of public protests in major cities like New York have been pro-Palestine, with some participants holding up antisemitic signs calling on people to ‘clean the world of Jews’.