Jewish actor Josh Gad, known for his roles in “Beauty and the Beast,” “Frozen,” and “Murder on the Orient Express,” is speaking in the wake of Kanye West’s antisemitic comments.
Earlier this month,, who legally changed his name to Ye, was restricted on Twitter and Instagram after posting . In one tweet, he threatened to go “death [sic] con 3” on Jewish people, saying that he “actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also.”
His comments have sparked a wave of antisemitism throughout the country. In California, CBS Los Angeles reported several incidents, including one in which an organized group stood on an overpass on the 405 freeway and displayed Nazi salutes. They also held a banner that said “Kanye was right about the Jews,” as well as other signs and an American flag.
Gad, who portrayed LeFou in “Beauty and the Beast” and Olaf in “Frozen,” posted an image of that incident on Instagram on Monday, saying that “silence is no longer an option. Not when Nazi salutes are happening on the 405.”
For Gad, it’s a personal attack. His family knows firsthand the dangers of antisemitism – his grandparents are Holocaust survivors.
“For 30 years, my grandparents Joseph and Evelyn Greenblatt repeated one phrase to me again and again: ‘never forget.’ You see, when they were children, they were rounded up, tattooed with numbers like cattle and separated from their families. They were then put into camps as their parents and siblings were slaughtered,” Gad wrote. “Why? Because they were an easy target; scapegoats for Fascist monsters who turned their fellow countrymen into complicit murderers.”
Gad went on to say that he has vowed to do as his grandparents taught and “never forget,” but that he never imagined he would be living in fear of the “ignorant hatred towards my people.” But over the last week, he said, he’s seen how quickly hate can spread.
“I’m going to make this super clear: Kanye West is a raging f***ing anti-Semite,” he wrote. “His mental illness is not an excuse for his Neo-Nazi propaganda. I have friends who are bipolar. They don’t suffer from vile bigotry and hate.”
“My people are now under attack in a very disturbing and real way,” he continued. “…Speak out now and speak out loudly. Lest we forget.”
His post was well-received, with many expressing their support for him and Jewish people. Director Ron Howard commented on the post, saying that “hatred and bigotry is not what our nation is ever supposed to support.”
“If we toss away our core unifying human values we lessen ourselves, our communities as places to flourish individually and as family units and our nation as a standard bearer for a society which at its best can be the envy of the world,” he said. “Thank you for speaking out and reminding us of what is at stake.”