The editors of Tribune Media Services have been called on to apologize for a clue in a crossword puzzle that used the clue “Shylock, e.g.” to elicit a three-letter response, with the correct answer being “Jew.”
The crossword puzzle, which was syndicated, appeared in several newspapers across the country. “Shylock” is a reference to the grotesque stereotyped fictional Jewish character from Shakespeare’s play, “The Merchant of Venice.”
“Perhaps the puzzle authors were unaware of the use of Shakespeare’s Shylock character throughout the years as a vehicle for anti-Semitism,” wrote ADL National Director Abraham Foxman in a letter to Tribune Media Services.
“Selecting Shylock to elicit the answer ‘Jew’ demonstrates cultural ignorance and an extreme lack of sensitivity. Even if done inadvertently, such a linkage perpetuates classic anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews as evil and money-hungry,” Foxman wrote.
ADL urged Tribune Media Services to print an apology and refrain from using clues that reinforce negative stereotypes about Jews or other groups in the future.