Last week, Oscar winning actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem made headlines with an open letter they penned denouncing Israeli “genocide” and calling for a cease-fire. The backlash was swift, as fellow Hollywood heavyweights like Jon Voight slammed the “ignorant” actors.
It now appears as though the criticism has reached new heights. Various reports suggest Cruz and Bardem may ultimately be blacklisted as a result of the letter, with anonymous industry execs telling outlets like The Hollywood Reporter they have “vowed” not to hire Cruz again.
Since the letter was first published, Glenn has expressed his dismay over Cruz and Bardem’s point of view. That does not mean, however, he does not fully support their right to express their opinion. On radio this morning, Glenn condemned the “disturbing” blacklists and explained why he will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the actors.
“They're actually talking about putting Penelope Cruz on a Hollywood blacklist… Now, this is somebody… I can't disagree with more… She's standing up for Hamas,” Glenn said. “[But] I believe in more speech, not less. And those who have the courage to speak their minds give us the opportunity to question with boldness and find out what we really believe in.”
As he has defended the rhetoric of Bill Maher, Paula Dean, and others over the years, Glenn has always maintained we must recognize freedom of speech protects even the most vile in order to be effective. While we may not always agree, we must support the right of free expression.
“We need to remain willing to tolerate the speech that we despise. We need to not just tolerate it, we need to stand behind it,” Glenn said. “That's one of the lowest rungs on the ladder of justice – that people have the right to speak their mind.”
Glenn still to believe Cruz’s claims about Israel are “flat wrong,” and he will continue to support Israel’s right and responsibility to fight “as quickly and efficiently and ethically” as possible.
“The Jewish people have not had the right to defend themselves from those who have tried to round them up and kill them since the time of Rome,” Glenn explained. “They've always had to rely on the friendship, mercy, or protection of others and, 19 separate times, those so-called friends and fellow human beings turned the other way while they were rounded and up slaughtered en masse. Never again… We have to call evil by its name and stand firmly by those who are at least trying to uphold the western Judeo-Christian respect for life.”
Ultimately, Glenn believes we must pray “for peace, justice, [and] reconciliation,” and hold fast to our principles and values – not political expediency. While Glenn stands with those in Hollywood who support Israel, he will not stand with those who call for the blacklisting of those who hold differing opinions.
“Hollywood, I am with you on Israel,” Glenn concluded. “[But] I stand firmly by the side of Penelope Cruz, if you try to blacklist her for her point of view. I do not stand with her on her opinion. I stand with her firmly on her right too express it because America is better than blacklists and loyalty oaths.”