Billionaire entertainment mogul and Hillary Clinton mega-bundler Haim Saban has walked back comments he made this week suggesting that the United States should exercise “more scrutiny” in vetting Muslim immigrants seeking entry into the country.
“I misspoke,” Saban told the Wrap in a statement, adding:
I believe that all refugees coming from Syria — a war-torn country that ISIS calls home — regardless of religion require additional scrutiny before entering the United States. At this moment in time, with hundreds killed in Paris and thousands more around the world, freedom as we know it is under existential threat.
In an interview with the same publication earlier this week, Saban said the U.S. should keep a closer eye on Muslim immigrants entering the country.
“[ISIS] said, ‘We’re going to Paris,’ and they went to Paris. They’re saying they’re now going to Washington. Watch out, they might,” he told the Wrap.
“I’m not suggesting we put Muslims through some kind of a torture room to get them to admit that they are or they’re not terrorists. But I am saying we should have more scrutiny,” Saban added.
Saban’s original comments provoked the ire of left-leaning outlets, including Salon and Gawker, which criticized the 71-year-old Israeli-American’s hawkish immigration position.
“‘Put Muslims in a torture room until they admit they’re terrorists’ is the official Republican position,” wrote Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan. “Haim Saban is articulating the more modest Democratic position, which is just ‘Put Muslims in a room, and keep them there.’”
The billionaire entertainment mogul is a longtime friend and supporter of Hillary Clinton and has donated millions to the former Secretary of State’s 2016 presidential campaign. In May, Saban hosted a $2,700 per-plate fundraiser for Clinton at his Beverly Hills mansion. The event was attended by more than 700 people and brought in a whopping $1.9 million for Clinton’s campaign.