The media is trying to scare celebrities away from Twitter. This according to producer/director/actor Eli Roth, who was chagrined to find his pal Russell Crowe labeled as anti-Semitic by the Hollywood Reporter after Crowe posted this tweet on Thursday (June 9):
many jewish friends, I love my Jewish friends, I love the apples and the honey and the funny little hats but stop cutting yr babies @eliroth
The whole thing was a big joke, according to Roth, who insists in his own Twitter feed that Crowe is “One of the nicest people I have ever been lucky enough to meet and work with. AND RESPECTFUL OF ALL RELIGIONS.”
The offending (or hilarious, depending on whether you’re a celebrity or a journalist) tweet was posted during a debate Crowe was having with fans about circumcision.
Because social media is the great leveler, it has made it possible for pregnant women to seek medical advice from celebrities who once played a gladiator on the big screen. Crowe held forth over the span of many tweets about his vehement opposition to the practice, calling it “barbaric” and telling anyone who didn’t agree with him to “f*** off.”
In the midst of that, he posted the above tweet about apples and funny little hats. But apparently several of Crowe’s followers and we, the tabloid-minded media, totally took it out of context. Crowe and Roth are friends, so we were apparently supposed to intuit the fact that this was a joke and not, as it sounds on the initial read, an anti-Semitic statement. Like Tracy Morgan, Crowe was just having some fun, being ironic and whatnot.
The tweet above has since been deleted (we screengrabbed it Thursday evening) and Crowe has apologized for any
offense he might have caused, but maintains that he stands by his views
on circumcision. Except none of this is about circumcision anymore. It’s
about anti-Semitic remarks.
And this again raises the question of how social media has impacted celebrity. We don’t need Us Weekly’s printed pics showing us stars are “just like us” anymore, because we can read in 140 character bursts — in words directly from their brains — how they are just like (or very different) from us.
Crowe, who has been tweeting for some time, is candid — he engages with his fans and doesn’t shy away from posting an opinion. And he doesn’t mind when some people don’t agree — hence the invitation to “f*** off” mentioned above. But where does the responsibility lie for how he is publicly perceived? With the media? With his publicist? Or — since he’s chosen to type messages straight to the web without a filter — with Crowe himself?
We get it, Roth is being a good friend and trying to save face for Crowe who was tweeting when maybe he should’ve taken a deep breath and stepped away from the computer. But since he told TMZ that no one contacted either him or Crowe for a comment, we’d like to go on record as saying we have reached out to Roth’s publicist for an interview. So far, no response.
Given the opportunity, though, here are some of the questions we’d like to ask Roth:
1. When is it funny/permissible to make anti-Semitic jokes?
2. Who is responsible for a celebrity’s perceived image based on his/her tweets?
3. What is the difference between Russell Crowe’s tweet and Tracy Morgan’s anti-gay rant?
4. Do you really think the media is trying to scare celebrities off Twitter? (Because, dude, let me tell you — it’s one of the best things that ever happened for us.)
5. Can we get a sneak peek from “The Man with the Iron Fists”?