Joaquin Phoenix, 150 Creatives Back Jonathan Glazer in Open Letter

Industry giants rally around a controversial Oscars speech critique.

by Nouman Rasool
Joaquin Phoenix, 150 Creatives Back Jonathan Glazer in Open Letter
© Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

In a striking display of unity and free speech, over 150 Jewish Hollywood professionals, including luminaries such as Joaquin Phoenix, Elliott Gould, and producer Joel Coen, have openly declared their support for Jonathan Glazer amidst the controversy surrounding his comments on the Israel-Gaza conflict at the Oscars.

This collective stance, aimed at challenging the narrative of dissent suppression, underscores a significant moment of solidarity within the entertainment industry. Glazer, during his acceptance speech for the Holocaust drama "The Zone of Interest" at the 2024 Oscars, made poignant remarks about the exploitation of Jewish identity and the Holocaust, sparking a wide array of reactions.

His statement, emphasizing the universal denunciation of dehumanization, was met with both applause and criticism. Tony Kushner, another prominent Jewish figure in Hollywood, echoed Glazer's sentiment, highlighting the severity of the conflict from his perspective.

Hollywood Unites for Peace

The open letter, made public through Variety, features an impressive roster of signatories, including directors Todd Haynes and Mike Leigh, actors David Cross, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, and noted writers Boots Riley and Tom Stoppard.

They collectively express concern over the misrepresentation of Glazer's comments and the alarming escalation of violence in Gaza, which has led to significant loss of life and humanitarian crisis. This document not only reaffirms the creative community's right to free expression but also mourns the casualties on both sides of the conflict, advocating for a nuanced understanding beyond the bounds of political and ideological divides.

It emphasizes the role of artists and creatives in fostering dialogue and understanding amidst complex global issues. The call for cease-fire and the highlighted repercussions faced by celebrities advocating for peace reflect a broader plea for empathy and action.

The letter's signatories, including influential figures such as Debra Winger, Lenny Abrahamson, and Hari Nef, underscore the moral imperative to stand against injustice and violence, regardless of one's background or belief.

As the conversation around the Israel-Gaza conflict continues to evolve, this letter represents a poignant reminder of the power of collective voices in the pursuit of peace and the essential role of the arts in navigating the complexities of human experience.