Eddie Marsan has received ‘relentless’ antisemitic abuse over role as Jewish activist in Ridley Road

BBC series is set during the Sixties and chronicles the rise of neo-Nazism in London

Ellie Harrison
Tuesday 19 October 2021 10:56
Ridley Road | Trailer - BBC

Eddie Marsan has spoken out against the “bigotry and hatred” he has encountered after portraying a Jewish anti-fascist activist in the BBC period drama Ridley Road.

The actor – who plays a taxi driver and the leader of the 62 Group who fought against neo-Nazism, Soly Malinovsky, in the show – has been sharing screenshots of the abuse he has received.

He wrote on Twitter: “F*** me, this is relentless, all I did was play a Jew, I dread to think what would’ve happened if I was actually Jewish.”

In another tweet, he added: “Thanks for all the kind responses about this but honestly, I’ve been in this game for 30 years & I think I’m the dogs bollocks, I’m fine. But the point is, what if I wasn’t. What if I were a young kid just starting out & I had to deal with this level of abuse. It’s unacceptable.”

Marsan also posted: “Ridley Road has received a lot of love but it’s also exposed the hatred and bigotry that’s still out there.” He then shared the abuse one of his co-stars has received online.

Retweeting another troll, he wrote: “F*** me, the racists have had their weetabix.”

In a recent interview with The Times, Marsan said he hopes his posts will bring attention to antisemitism. He said: “I was using my non Jewishness to highlight the fact that this is ridiculous. Sometimes if a Jewish actor or writer or artist highlights it, it is diluted because people kind of expect it.”

Speaking to The Independent in an interview earlier this month, Rory Kinnear – who plays a fascist leader in the show – said: “Nothing about the views espoused by the far-right now are any different to the Sixties. There’s been a shift in the way the message is put out there and amplified, but the central message is unchanged.

“What I hope this series might do is reduce the shock factor that the far-right play on today. That sense of being able to say the unsayable.”

He added: “If you show that it’s been said for 60 years already, it might make people think, ‘Oh well, that’s more boring than I thought it was.’ Part of the show is also saying you do need people to challenge it for it to fail, and not just rely on the cycles of history. As America saw, you do have to resist. It didn’t come too far away from democracy not holding up.”

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