Definition of anti-Semitism and anti-Semite
Definition of anti-Semitism and anti-Semite iStock

UK actor Eddie Marsan is speaking up after facing a torrent of online abuse for playing a Jewish character on a TV show.

Marsan portrayed Soly Malinovsky on BBC drama Ridley Road, the story of 62 Group, anti-fascists who fought against the post-war British neo-Nazi movement.

The well known actor is not Jewish but faced abuse for the role, including anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments, and personal attacks.

“This is relentless, all I did was play a Jew, I dread to think what would’ve happened if I was actually Jewish,” the actor wrote on Thursday on Twitter.

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.”

The actor tweeted examples of the abusive anti-Jewish comments he received, including someone telling him: “Facts are fact Eddie, you are a crap actor and I’ll never watch sh*** with your Apartheid loving bake in it.”

Another user wrote: “Just leaves a bitter taste in the mouth knowing their work on Twitter throwing fake anti-Semitism around to stop a life long anti-racist Jeremy Corbyn & legitimizing [sic] Palestine.”

The actor received thanks on Twitter from Jewish users for standing up to the anti-Jewish bullying.

A user wrote: “The thing is Eddie you can pass … so sorry you have had to put up with this but it makes the adaptation of Ridley Road and your performance more important. This doesn’t go away. There are a lot of racists out there.”

Another wrote: “Thank you Eddie. You’re a wonderful actor & a good friend to the Jewish community.”

And another tweeted that he was a “brilliant actor” and a “mensch.”

“I loved you in Sixty Six. I loved you in Ridley Road. Thank you for being you,” the user wrote.

Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, also voiced her support for Marsan, describing him as a hero.

“It’s shocking, disgusting, exhausting all at once,” Pollock tweeted.

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