Dear Jews: 'Stop Cutting Yr Babies.' Love, Russell Crowe [UPDATED]
Perhaps this makes me one of the "lazy journalists" to whom Russell Crowe has partially attributed his latest cultural scrape, but you be the judge: Does an Oscar-winning actor and A-list leading man tweeting his respect for Jews' "funny hats" along with the request that they "stop cutting [their] babies" sound... well, weird to you? [UPDATE: Oh, wait, says Eli Roth -- that was a joke! Ha?]
Crowe's series of tweets criticizing circumcision emerged late Thursday night, rolling into a discussion among his followers and, within the last hour or so, a pair of apologies. (Namedropped filmmaker Eli Roth, who co-wrote and produced Crowe's upcoming The Man With the Iron Fists, joined in himself: "You didn't seem to be complaining when I was recutting you this afternoon...") Several of the tweets have been deleted in the short time since Movieline captured the screengrab above, but you'll find them below with links to where they used to be published [all times EDT]:
10:06 p.m.: Circumcision is barbaric and stupid. Who are you to correct nature? Is it real that GOD requires a donation of foreskin? Babies are perfect
10:10 p.m.: @Hodanismail My friend, "human" science has caused too much damage, don't be a moron
10:46 p.m.: many jewish friends, I love my Jewish friends, I love the apples and the honey and the funny little hats but stop cutting yr babies @eliroth
11:16 p.m.: @catryan46 same as tattoo's/ plastic surgery;he is an adult and he "wants" it, then off u go,mothers were right 2 keep their babies intact
11:20 p.m.: I will always stand for the perfection of babies, i will always believe in God, not man's interpretation of what God requires
7:36 a.m.: wasn't intending offense, certainly wasn't intending to provide fodder for lazy journalists. I can't appologize for my heartfelt belief
9:00 a.m.: This is a great forum for communication,I,like any human have my opinions and you all have yours, thank you for trusting me with them
9:35 a.m.: I have a deep and abiding love for all people of all nationalities, I'm very sorry that I have said things on here that have caused distress
9:39 a.m.: My personal beliefs aside I realize that some will interpret this debate as me mocking the rituals and traditions of others. I am very sorry
UPDATE 12:43 p.m. EDT: Iron Fists co-writer/producer Eli Roth has roared to Crowe's defense with a succession of tweets decrying the media's handling/understanding of his friend's comments -- particularly the one about "cutting yr babies":
11:33 a.m.: @THR HOW DARE YOU call @russellcrowe antisemitic? What is WRONG with you? We are FRIENDS. Friends joke and tease each other. This is SICK.
11:34 a.m.: PLEASE RT. @russellcrowe is a great person - people are taking a joke to ME on twitter and are using it as an excuse to villify a good man
11:35 a.m.: I cannot believe what @THR and other news outlets are doing. I am absolutely sick! It's horrible - it's slander and it's NOT TRUE.
11:36 a.m.: Full statement coming soon. EVERYONE - please RT - @russellcrowe is NOT antisemitic, it was a joke on twitter the press are trumping up
11:39 a.m.: Journalists @Huffpost @TheAtlantic @THR YOU KNOW IT WAS A JOKE. You didn't even bother to ask EITHER OF US how we felt, you ran a [cont'd]
11:40 a.m.: story using tweets and poisoning a very good person's name. Why do you think no one takes newspapers seriously anymore? NO ONE ASKED ME.
11:41 a.m.: Fans - the reason @RZAWU got to direct iRON FISTS was @russellcrowe generously gave his time to our project. He's a good person. Please RT
11:42 a.m.: @THR @Huffpost @TheAtlantic - why are NONE OF YOU doing ANY FACT CHECKING? We're on twitter - you can ask EITHER OF US. You POISON his name
12:09 p.m.: FILM BLOGS TAKE NOTE - @THR @Huffpost @TheAtlantic and others are now terrifying stars into not saying any jokes on twitter.
12:10 p.m.: The whole fun of twitter is to have a real, open exchange with fans. NOT ONE MEDIA OUTLET CONTACTED EITHER OF US to see if it was a joke
12:26 p.m.: What's more disturbing is that there are real antisemitic incidents every day that they clearly could care less about. They attack a friend
OK, OK, we get it. But here's the thing about Twitter: IT IS PUBLIC AND EVERYBODY CAN READ IT. The reason this became a controversy at all was not because of a "joke" between "friends," but because Crowe spent the next hour publicly sparring with people about the morality of circumcision. Were the media supposed to get in touch with Crowe to "fact check" the spirit of his tweets, "I will always stand for the perfection of babies, i will always believe in God, not man's interpretation of what God requires," or "wasn't intending offense, certainly wasn't intending to provide fodder for lazy journalists. I can't appologize [sic] for my heartfelt belief"? Eight hours after the fact, awaking to headlines and the Twitter storm, Crowe wasn't spinning it as a joke. He was owning a point of view. Then he apologized. Those are the facts.
Anyway, trust me, Eli: This whole contretemps won't terrify celebrities from telling jokes on Twitter, but hopefully it does prompt them to tell the particularly bad ones via text message.