Academy Museum review exhibition on Jewish history after the backlash

After backlash from a group of Jewish activists, the Academy Museum of the Motion Picture in Los Angeles announced Monday that it would reconsider its new exhibit on Hollywood’s Jewish roots.

The museum indicated in a statement to Hollywood Reporter on Monday that it had “listened to the concerns of members of the Jewish community” and was “committed to making changes to the show to address them.”

The museum said: “We will implement the first set of changes immediately, as they will allow us to tell these important stories without using phrases that may inadvertently reinforce stereotypes.”

The exhibition is titled Hollywoodland: The Jewish Founders and the Making of a Movie CapitalIt officially opened on May 19, and was quickly criticized by many Jewish activists for its sometimes negative portrayal of Jewish figures, which some said was anti-Semitic.

An open letter from a group called United Jewish Writers was obtained by THR “While we acknowledge the importance of confronting Hollywood’s problematic past, the vile double standards displayed by the Jewish founders, and blaming only Jews for that problematic past, is unacceptable and, whether intentionally or not, anti-Semitic,” he wrote Monday. We call on the Academy Museum to completely restore this exhibit so that it celebrates the Jewish founders of Hollywood with the same respect and enthusiasm given to those celebrated in the rest of the museum.

Specifically, the letter’s authors objected to the presence of the words “tyrant,” “oppressor,” “womanizer,” and “predator” in the exhibit’s wall text. They wrote that too Hollywoodland It was “the only section of the museum that denigrates those it claims to celebrate.”

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The museum announced the changes before the letter was distributed, but later reports said it had been signed by more than 300 individuals.

Hollywoodland: The Jewish Founders and the Making of a Movie Capital It was initially announced in response to criticism following the museum’s 2022 opening regarding the institution’s lack of acknowledgment of Hollywood’s Jewish past.

“If you have a museum in Los Angeles associated with the Academy that celebrates the most important art form of the 20th century, how can you not acknowledge the Jewish men who started it all?” said producer John Goldwyn at the time, grandson of Sam Goldwyn, whose executive endeavors a century earlier led to the formation of both Paramount and MGM. “It is a gross oversight.”

The new exhibition aims to highlight the role played by Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer and other Jewish immigrants in establishing the American film industry.

Dara Jaffe, curator of the exhibition, said: THR In May, “this was a story we always planned to tell,” but acknowledged that “we were certainly very aware” of the criticism regarding the exhibition’s delay.

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