Seth Rogen on Monday called President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” and accused Republican lawmakers of spreading “blatantly antisemitic propaganda” in an interview with the Israel’s left-wing Haaretz daily.
Asked whether he agreed with the assessment that the U.S. no longer provided an “easy, soft life” for American Jews, Rogen responded: “The president is [a] white supremacist, so things are not great here. And Republican politicians literally tweet blatantly antisemitic propaganda pretty regularly. It’s a weird time in America.”
In the interview, Rogen also clarified controversial remarks he made a week prior to Marc Maron on his hour-long “WTF” podcast, in which he denounced the idea of Jewish state in Israel and said a “better strategy” after the Holocaust would have been to ensure that Jews are spread out all over the world and not concentrated in one place.
Rogen said some of the comments surrounding Israel were said in jest, but admitted perhaps that wasn’t appropriate.
“I think that it’s a tricky conversation to have in jest,” he told Haaretz. “And that’s something that perhaps I now look at and say, ‘Oh, now that we joked about that, perhaps we could clarify some things so people don’t run around thinking that I think Israel shouldn’t exist anymore.’ And I’m sensitive to Jewish people being hurt, as a Jewish person. And I’m sensitive to Jewish people thinking I’m not a proud Jewish person, which I am.”
He added: “And I am sensitive to Jews thinking that I don’t think Israel should not exist, and that there are a lot of Jewish people who are alive who wouldn’t be without Israel. And my parents met in Israel; I’ve been to Israel several times.”
“When you’re having a conversation about something so sensitive and nuanced, it’s not just what we said – well it’s partially what we said – but [it’s] also what we didn’t say. When you’re having even a humorous conversation about something so nuanced, leaving things out or omitting things can become just as bad as the things you do say,” he said.
He also lamented that some of his comments were taken out of context.
“Things I said were taken and chopped up, and the context literally removed from it, and if I read some of those things out of context I would also probably be upset about it,” he said.
Rogen came under fire for telling Maron that the creation of Israel “makes no sense whatsoever.”
“You don’t keep all your Jews in one basket,” he said.
“To me it just seems an antiquated thought process,” Rogen said. “If it is for religious reasons, I don’t agree with it, because I think religion is silly. If it is for truly the preservation of Jewish people, it makes no sense, because again, you don’t keep something you’re trying to preserve all in one place — especially when that place is proven to be pretty volatile, you know? ‘I’m trying to keep all these things safe, I’m gonna put them in my blender and hope that that’s the best place… that’ll do it.’”
Rogen also said antisemitism today was “pervasive and prevalent.” Expounding on those remarks to Haaretz, Rogen claimed “anti-Semitic people also do thrive in Hollywood.”
“[S]o the notion that Jews control the careers of everyone in Hollywood is wildly inaccurate,” he said.
“Mel Gibson has made several movies over the last several years. He won an Academy Award for one of them, I think, in the wake of making horribly antisemitic comments,” he added.