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Adam Sandler, You Don’t Represent Me

Adam Sandler, I am a Jew. Although we don’t share the same taste in comedy, I had always loved that you put Jews out there. You made us visible. From the subtle, like the marriage under the Chupah in 50 First Dates to making it possible to laugh at the inanities of world conflict in Don’t Mess With The Zohan, you showed different faces of Jews to America and the world.

One would hope that you, Mr. Sandler, would realize how important it is as a Jew, especially as a Jew in public, to recognize that the struggles and horrors our people have suffered should inspire solidarity with others who faced and continue to face the same. From the unspeakable nightmares of genocide to the daily attacks of racism, what we have suffered has been suffered by innumerable others.

That is why your disgusting treatment of Native Americans in your upcoming Netflix film release The Ridiculous Six is so abhorrent. Like your fellow Jews, the indigenous people of America have suffered a massive genocide. Like your fellow Jews, they were demonized by the media and press. Even American children’s cartoons only a few years ago, like the ones published by Nazi Germany about Jews, showed Native Americans as barbarians who deserved to be killed. Like the Jewish boys kidnapped into the Czar’s armies, Native American children were forced away from their families into boarding schools where they were forcibly stripped of their cultures, faiths, and languages. And much the same as my father was beaten up as a kid for being a k***, native kids are attacked by fans at sports games, wearing fake head dresses, hooping and hollering “war chants”, dumping drinks on them, and calling them r*******. Like our Jewish grandmothers who were raped in the pogroms and shtetls of Europe with no legal recourse, Native American women are two and a half times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than your average American woman.

So for you to make a film where you hire native actors then mock them by promoting racist depictions: showing them as dirty and uncivilized, demeaning the women by giving them names like “no-bra” and “beaver breath”, mocking and profaning their ceremonies and cultures, is unforgivable. For you to still defend a project so offensive that a dozen Native American actors and cultural consultants walked off the set is a sign of either willful ignorance or overt racism. When we have fought to be depicted as something other than the hooked nose ganef and the miserly, conniving Shylock, you make a movie showing stereotyping Native Americans as “savages”. You, as an actor and a Jew, of all people, should understand. I stand with each and every actor that walked off the set that day. And as a Jew, Mr. Sandler, you should have too.

Amalia Rubinis a Master's Degree Candidate at the University of Washington studying International Development with a concentration on Cultural Integrity and Identity and Development.