Gary Oldman has apologized for defending controversial remarks about Jews and gays made by fellow actors Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin.
“I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy interview were offensive to many Jewish people,” Oldman wrote in an open letter to the Anti-Defamation League late on Tuesday.
“Upon reading my comments in print – I see how insensitive they may be, and how they may indeed contribute to the furtherance of a false stereotype.”
In his letter, first reported by the industry website Deadline.com, Oldman wrote, “I hope you will know that this apology is heartfelt, genuine, and that I have an enormous personal affinity for the Jewish people in general, and those specifically in my life.”
Oldman’s Playboy comments had drawn a sharp response from Jewish leaders.
“Gary Oldman’s remarks irresponsibly feed into a classic anti-Semitic canard about supposed Jewish control of Hollywood and the film industry,” said ADL national director Abraham Foxman.
“Mel Gibson’s ostracisation in Hollywood was not a matter of being ‘politically incorrect,’ as Mr Oldman suggests, but of paying the consequences for outing himself as a bigot and a hater.
“It is disturbing that Mr Oldman appears to have bought into Mr Gibson’s warped and prejudiced world view.”
The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier, added: “Gary Oldman wants Jews to ‘get over’ what Mel Gibson said.
“But what Gibson said was the slogan that Adolf Hitler used to murder six million Jews during the Holocaust. His own comment that Hollywood is a town ‘run by Jews’ has a very familiar sinister ring to it that is the anthem of bigots and anti-Semites everywhere.
“That has nothing to do with political correctness,” he added in a statement.
In an expletive-filled interview to Playboy - which also saw him defend Hollywood star Alec Baldwin's use of the word "fag" as an insult - Oldman dismissed Gibson's infamous comments about Jews by claiming "we've all said those things".
"He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things," he claimed. "We’re all f-----g hypocrites. That’s what I think about it."
"The policeman who arrested him has never used the word n----- or that f-----g Jew?" he continued. "I’m being brutally honest here. It’s the hypocrisy of it that drives me crazy.
"Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him. But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn’t turned and said, 'That f-----g kraut' or 'F--- those Germans,' whatever it is?"
The incident in question occurred after Gibson was stopped by a police officer for drunk-driving, at which point he asked if the arresting officer was Jewish. Upon hearing that he was responded "F***ing Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."
Despite apologizing, Gibson's career has since gone into free-fall, particularly since anti-Semitism allegations had already been raised over his 2004 movie "The Passion of Christ", which was seen as reinforcing anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews.
Realizing too late that his comments may have been somewhat over the top, Oldman remarked: "So this interview has gone very badly... You have to edit and cut half of what I've said, because it's going to make me sound like a bigot.