ADL Accepts Actor Will Smith's Clarification on Hitler Remark
New York, NY, December 26, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed and accepted actor Will Smith's clarifying statement that Adolf Hitler was "a vile, heinous, vicious killer" and not someone to be held up as a good person.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We welcome and accept Will Smith's statement that Hitler was a 'vicious killer' and that he did not mean for his remarks about the Nazi leader to be mistaken as praise. Once Smith realized that his remarks may have been misunderstood, he took immediate steps to clarify his words and unequivocally condemn Hitler as an evil person. We would have expected no less from a celebrity of his standing in the strata of Hollywood stardom.
Unfortunately, in citing Hitler in what appears to be a positive context, Smith stirred up a hornet's nest on the Internet, where hate groups and anti-Semites latched on to the remark and praised it. If anything, this episode serves as a reminder of the power of words, and how words can be twisted by those with hate and bigotry in their hearts to suit their own worldview. This is why all celebrities bear a special responsibility to weigh their words carefully, and an obligation to speak out against racism and bigotry whenever even a whiff of it appears, as Will Smith has done in this instance.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.