"Mr Brando's comments about Hollywood being controlled by Jews is about as sloppy an anti-Semitism as saying that Jews control banks," said Rabbi Harvey J Fields, of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles. He was responding to remarks made by Brando on Friday's edition of the CNN Programme Larry King Live. The Oscar-winning star of The Godfather said: "Hollywood is run by Jews. It is owned by Jews and they should have a greater sensitivity about the issue of people who are suffering."
He listed various negative stereotypes that he said have been depicted in the movies. "We've seen the nigger, and the Greaseball. We've seen the Chink. We've seen the slit-eyed dangerous Jap. We have seen the wily Filipino. We've seen everything," Brando said. "But we never saw the kike because they knew perfectly well that that's where you draw the wagons around."
Abraham H Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, said Brando's comments were "utterly false" and called on him to apologise for perpetuating ethnic stereotypes.
"Mr Brando owes an apology to the Jewish men and women who work in Hollywood for vilifying them and to all Jews for his stereotyping and use of an anti-Semitic epithet," Mr Foxman added.
Brando, 72, who has been active in the civil rights movement, denied that his comments were anti-Semitic. "I will be the first one who will praise the Jews honestly and say, `Thank God for the Jews'," he said. "The Jews are amazing people."
The militant Jewish Defense League responded by sending the actor a letter entitled "Message to the Godfather of Hate"- "You gladly take money from Hollywood producers and then vilify the industry with slanderous accusations of anti-Semitic vulgarities." A swastika has been pasted across Brando's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the actor has been warned that there will be protests at his next movie.
"Shame on you and shame on the next Jew responsible for giving you a job," Irv Rubin, chairman of the defence league, said in a statement. "We're going to make the rest of your life a living hell."