July 15, 2024


The Intersection of Information and Insight

Julianna Margulies said what? Actor faces backlash over Israel-Hamas comments

4 min read

Loads of social media users are wondering what just came out of Julianna Margulies’ mouth.

The “Good Wife” and “Morning Show” actor is in hot water for comments she made about antisemitism and what she says is the lack of support by the Black and LGBTQ+ communities for Israel in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

Critics have a few choice words for her choice of words, such as “racist,” “Islamophobic” and “transphobic.”

The actress was on the Nov. 20 episode of “The Back Room With Andy Ostroy,” her second time on the show after an episode released March 23. Ostroy is a self-proclaimed “proud Democrat,” producer and director, known for his HBO documentary on late wife Adrienne Shelly, writer-director of the 2007 film “Waitress.”

The podcast began benignly enough, with a discussion of Margulies’ work with the Holocaust education program at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, as well as her recent performance as journalist Laura Peterson in the Apple TV+ series “The Morning Show.” The character is a lesbian, although Margulies is straight.

But Ostroy and Margulies — both of whom are Jewish — went on to talk about antisemitism in light of the Israel-Hamas war.

Margulies described herself during the podcast as not religious, but called out a lack of support for Israel. She described an instance during last month’s March for Israel in Washington in which supporters were left stranded at the airport after bus drivers chartered to drive them to a rally deliberately failed to show up.

“If that had happened to any other marginalized community, this country would be in an uproar,” Margulies said, “but because it happened to the Jews, for some reason, it’s laughable.”

Margulies also suggested that the young people “spewing … antisemitic hate” are often those concerned with pronouns and gender identity.

“These people … want us to call them ‘they/them,’” Margulies said, “or whatever they want us to call them — which I have, respectfully, really made a point of doing — like, be whatever you want to be.”

Margulies added, however, that Hamas and Islamic fundamentalists would not share the sentiment.

“If they stepped foot in an Islamic country,” the actor said, “it’s those people that will be the first people beheaded and their heads played with … like a soccer ball on the field. … And that’s who they’re supporting? Terrorists who don’t want women to have their rights. LGBTQ people get executed. Bar none, you’re dead.”

Margulies went on to describe how she tried to educate herself on Hamas in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, citing the 2014 documentary “The Green Prince” and episodes of the podcast “Making Sense With Sam Harris.”

“It’s really not about Israel; it’s about Hamas and jihadism and radical Islamism. I’m educating myself,” Margulies said. “I don’t want to spend my day learning about jihadists; they’re a toxic, horrible, inhuman people who think I shouldn’t exist in the world — P.S., not just because I’m Jewish but also because I’m a woman.”

About 26 minutes into the podcast, Margulies criticized supporters of Palestinians for abetting antisemitism.

“There was a film being shown by this Black lesbian club on Columbia’s campus, and they put signs up that said, ‘No Jews allowed,’” Margulies said. The reference may relate to a report of a lesbian group dis-inviting “Zionists” to a movie night. “And as someone who plays a lesbian journalist on ‘The Morning Show,’ I’m more offended by it as a lesbian than I am as a Jew, to be honest with you.”

Margulies, IRL, is married to attorney Keith Lieberthal.

Toward the end of her podcast appearance, Margulies referenced the 2022 Ken Burns documentary “The U.S. and the Holocaust” and its depiction of how Adolf Hitler drew inspiration from the racist practices of the Jim Crow South.

“Which is also why, in the civil rights movement, the Jews were the ones that walked side by side with the Blacks — to fight for their rights, because they know,” Margulies said. “And now the Black community isn’t embracing us and saying, ‘We stand with you the way you stood with us.’”

The writer Samah Fadil posted a TikTok supercut of some of what she considered Margulies’ most inflammatory remarks from the podcast to X, where it went viral.

“Listen to julianna margulies go on an absolutely unhinged rant against black people for supporting palestine, claiming muslims would play soccer ball with the decapitated heads of black queer people if they could, and saying she knows better as someone who played a lesbian on tv,” Fadil said in her post, which had received nearly 5 million views as of late Thursday, according to X, formerly known as Twitter.

Other folks on social media criticized Margulies’ use of “Blacks” and “they/them” as substitutes for harsher discriminatory language.

“I’ve never heard someone want to say a slur more than Julianna Margulies does in that little podcast she did,” writer and comedian Joel Kim Booster wrote on X.

Representatives for Margulies did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night. Margulies has not issued a response to the backlash, but she has apparently deactivated her X profile and turned off the comments on her Instagram.

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