Despite being under intense criticism for her remarks, actress Susan Sarandon is refusing to apologize for referring to Pope Benedict XVI as a “Nazi” in a recent interview.
FoxNews.com is reporting that Sarandon, who won an academy award for her role in the 1995 anti-death penalty film Dead Man Walking, made the ill-informed remarks during an interview with Newsday. She was commenting on how she once sent a book on which the award-winning film was based to the pope, then clarified which pope by saying, “The last one. Not this Nazi one we have now.”
The actress was immediately slammed for the crude remarks by both Catholic and Jewish leaders.
“Susan Sarandon’s ignorance is willful: those who have hatred in their veins are not interested in the truth,” said Catholic League president Bill Donohue in a statement.
“The fact is that Joseph Ratzinger (the Pope) was conscripted at the age of 14 into the Hitler Youth, along with every other young German boy. Unlike most of the other teenagers, Ratzinger refused to go to meetings, bringing economic hardship to his family. Moreover, unlike most of the others, he deserted at the first opportunity.”
He added: “Sarandon’s comment is obscene. Sadly, it’s what we’ve come to expect from her.”
Political commentator and film critic Michael Medved told Fox411.com that he was also dismayed by the Nazi accusation.
“Could Susan Sarandon be following a classic rule of public relations: When the world is increasingly ignoring you, try attacking the Pope? Why should anyone care what a fading Hollywood actress has to say about one of the most influential thinkers and religious leaders in the world? Her denigration of Pope Benedict is particularly regrettable in light of this German pope’s moving and eloquent efforts to come to terms the horrors of the Holocaust.”
The Jewish community has also expressed their disappointment in Sarandon’s remarks.
“Ms. Sarandon may have her differences with the Catholic Church, but that is no excuse for throwing around Nazi analogies. Such words are hateful, vindictive and only serve to diminish the true history and meaning of the Holocaust,” said the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which fights anti-Semitism.
The group went on to demand an apology from the aging starlet; however, Sarandon’s Hollywood agent did not respond to requests for comment.
Entertainment and political publicist, Angie Meyer, told Fox the veteran actress’s reputation is likely to suffer – at least temporarily – as a result of her controversial opinion.
“Sarandon’s now positioned herself in an unwise position by insulting a large religious sector, who might otherwise pay to watch her movies,” Meyer said .”Her outlandish words come as a huge liability to movie producers, and film financiers. There will be push back – she’s stuck her foot too far down to fully recover, at least for the short term.”
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