Anti-Defamation League seeks apology from Susan Sarandon for calling Pope Benedict XVI a 'Nazi'

The Anti-Defamation League has called on Susan Sarandon to apologize for comments she reportedly made on Saturday in which she called Pope Benedict XVI a “Nazi.” During an interview at the Bay Street Theatre in Long Island, Newsday reports the Oscar-winning actress made her controversial comment while discussing her 1995 film Dead Man Walking, which was based on an anti-death-penalty book by Sister Helen Prejean. Sarandon remembered that she had sent a copy of the book to the pope. “The last one,” she said. “Not this Nazi one we have now.”

The Anti-Defamation League responded on Monday, asking Sarandon to apologize to the Catholic community and to anybody else she may have offended with her remarks. ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman issued the following statement:

We hope that Susan Sarandon will have the good sense to apologize to the Catholic community and all those she may have offended with this disturbing, deeply offensive and completely uncalled for attack on the good name of Pope Benedict XVI.

Ms. Sarandon may have her differences with the Catholic Church, but that is no excuse for throwing around Nazi analogies. Such words are hateful, vindictive and only serve to diminish the true history and meaning of the Holocaust.

It is unclear whether Sarandon was commenting generally about the Pope’s current policies or on his childhood experiences with the Nazi party during World War II. EW was unable to reach Sarandon for comment.


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  • Barack Palin

    I thknk Susan Sarandon owes all of humanity for being such a radical left-wing airheaded Communist Marxist liberal loony tune. Never has one opined so much while knowing so little. In fact, maybe Susan Sarandon can do all of us a favor and just disappear.

    • Julie

      Believe it or not, refusing to worship the pope doesn’t make her any of the things you described.

      • Jackie

        You’re both wrong. She’s not an airhead, a Communist or a Marxist, but by not spreading lies about the pope would not make her “worship” him.
        The pope is not a Nazi by any stretch, and she made a mistake with her comments.

      • Tom

        Ummm…nobody “worships” the Pope. I suggest getting your facts straight before contributing further.

    • jmcg

      But he was actually a Nazi. I will never get why they picked him to succeed Pope John Paul II. I think the ADL should pick someone else to get ticked off at–what’s Glen Beck doing?

      • SC

        He was drafted into the Hitler Youth at the age of 14, as were all German boys at that age. I don’t see why that would say he can’t be Pope, given 50+ years of service as a priest, much of it as John Paul II’s right hand man. And given John Paul II’s history in World War II, he’s hardly somebody out to coddle Nazis.

      • Susan

        I’m strongly anti-christian too.

      • rachael

        He was only a “Nazi” because all Germans at the age of 14 (15?) were required by law to join the Hitler Youth, and all males were required to join the army at 17 or 18. He apparently surrendered to the US army at some point, and spent time in a US-run prisoner of war camp until the war ended. Though aspects of anti-Jewish sentiment have always been present in Christian theology, I don’t think “Nazi” is ever an appropriate name to call anyone, except for those who willingly joined the Nazi Party. (I’m also Jewish, by the way).

      • Olive

        So if she said “not this ex-Nazis one we have now” the Anti-Defamation League wouldn’t care?

  • Julie

    Interesting that the ADL skirted the issue of this pope’s Nazi past. Isn’t that worth a mention in their statement?

    • puffnstuff

      if you’re 14 years old and drafted into a child army, are you really a nazi? Are the boy soldiers of the seirra leone really evil? I would say no to both. If you have no choice (well, death or servitude or both) then how can someone vilify you? Would YOU have done differently? Probably not

  • Jurryl

    Too bad she speaks the truth. He was a member of the Nazi Youth party.
    And you really need to look stuff up Barack Palin. Communism and Maxism are two completely different things. You can’t be both.

    • Lala

      Look who’s talking. Maybe you should look up WWII history.

  • Evan

    I’ll wait till the Jewish Defamation League says the Pope isn’t a Nazi.

    Who cares what the Catholic version thinks? They condoned the Holocaust during WWII anyway.

    • JC

      The ADL is the Jewish Defamation League. Learn before you speak.

    • Tom

      Wow. You really have no knowledge of history whatsoever.

  • jpratm

    Ugh. Really.

  • Lewis Hamilton

    Barack Palin is the only one talking sense here.

    • Ablo

      Hello Barack Palin (yea, we know),

  • JPX

    I think the current Pope is the spitting image of The Emperor from the Star Wars films – they could be twins!

    • Alyssa

      Good one! Not many know he is the real cause of evil in the movies. NOT Vader.

      He resembles a former prez and VP too in my opinion. Way more than Lord Vader. – he actually redeems himself.

  • outside agitator

    perhaps calling him one who condones child molestation on a multi-national scale spanning generations would be more appropriate. not to mention a discussion concerning the lack of action taken by the Vatican to condemn Hitler during his rise and reign.

    • Tom

      I suggest you read “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: Pope Pius XII And His Secret War Against Nazi Germany” by David Dalin before spouting off any further ignorance of history.

      • lilian

        I think the whole point is that it was “secret”. There was no official declaration, was there? So, basically, outside agitator is completely correct

    • Lala

      The current pope has been pope for generarions? Wow, he must have eternal life.

  • deedeedragons

    Poor Catholic Church with their billions & billions of dollars (yet always are always telling us to give & give) did big bad actress make you cry?

    • Tom

      No other non-governmental institution in history has spent more money on charitable causes than the Catholic Church. Also, the Church does not have billions in cash. Its “wealth” is in the form of preserving priceless works of culture and art that would otherwise be consigned to the dustbin of history.

      • Ruby

        This.

      • The Truth

        Are the preserving the works of art stolen form the Eastern Eurpopean Jews who were then starved and slaughtered?

    • lilian

      @deedeedragons. Hilarious!

      • Lala

        You’re stupid.

  • John

    For all those calling the Pope a Nazi because of his belonging to the the Hitler Youth, learn a little about history before making such asinine comments. Joining the Hitler Youth was COMPULSORY for aryans, meaning every white youth had to join. Participation in Hitler Youth events was voluntary, of which the Pope did not take part in any.

    • Lewis Hamilton

      Back in 1998 I had a short lived fling with Susan when she was filming nearby. She’s good for her age I give you that. I was exhausted after a night with her. Anyway, I dont think she meant any malice with her comment. She really is a sweety.

      • Tom

        How exactly can anyone use the term Nazi and not mean any malice? Quite a stretch there.

    • outside agitator

      “I was only following orders” is not an alibi.

      • Lala

        And you not having a brain isn’t an excuse for your stupidity either.

  • Dave

    Who cares what genocide deniers like the ADL think…

    • daisy

      sadly a great many people. And to be honest, who really cares what Susan Sarandon says either?

    • Jane

      Didn’t a previous poster say that the ADL is the Jewish Defamation League? I’m pretty sure Jewish people are not “genocide deniers”

      • Dave

        Then you would be wrong Jane. Just google ADL and Armenians and see for yourself.

  • sid ceasar

    Anyone see EW attack her like they did hank jr for calling people Nazi? Me neither.

    • Maureen

      Thank you for bringing this up. Hank Williams Jr. calls Obama “Hitler” and MNF cuts ties with him. Interesting to see if this is as big of a story. I doubt it since it was said by a liberal.

    • daisy

      sore, but the difference is one of them was actually a Nazi at one point (though I do not approve of her calling him one. He had no choice int he matter) and theother was calling the President of the United States of America a Nazi because he disagrees with him. If you do not see the difference then you are as stupid and pathetic as Hank is

      • outside agitator

        the difference is this…the current pope has Nazi ties in his past, Obama doesn’t.

      • Alyssa

        Yeah….AND Williams Jr. didn’t just say ” Nazi”. OH wow , big whoop- the Catholic faith needs to quit crying over everything.

        BUT calling President Obama the Evil leader of the holocaust and Nazi, is a bit different. Adolph Hitler is not comparable to anyone except those just as evil like OBL. NO as much as I despise him not even Bush. And acting like a drunken fool is not something ESPN should have to tolerate either.

  • Timelord

    First of all, the pope is against the use of condoms. in fact they go To a continent like Africa which is ravaged by aids and tell people there that condoms are bad. i would like the pope To be arrested for genocide for this act alone. how many people die or are affected by following such useless advice just because its from ‘ a man of god? ‘. what has the adl got To say for that?

    • Gust

      Genocide for being against the use of condoms? Really? Anyone who would think to use a condom would be involved in a VOLUNTARY act. The men who are spreading HIV through rape – the real story – aren’t going to be bothered with using a condom.

  • thekraken

    Why is no one commenting on the truly disturbing part of this story? Namely susan hasn’t changed her hair style since 1984 and her eyes are distractingly wonky?

    • Ruby

      LOL.

    • The Truth

      And who care? I am calling you a doodie bomb. Let’s discuss the veracity of that.

  • enzoiscool

    As Americans, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard and actually practice that we respect other people’s religion. Most of us who are intelligent realize that every MUSLIM is not responsible for what happened on 9/11. Regardless of our own beliefs, we maintain silence if someone else is praying 7 times a day or refusing to eat certain types of food. The Pope is a symbol to millions of people and if Ms. Sarandon doesn’t agree with that, she should keep her mouth shut. I eat pork but I would never bring my own pork chop to a Jewish feast. I don’t pray seven times a day but I would maintain silence if I were in the presence of someone who does. It is called tolerance and in my opinion, what she did reflects on every American.

    • outside agitator

      what reflects on every American is the Vatican’s pathetic response to National Socialism in the 20s/30s/40s and its toleration of rampant pedophilia in its priesthood. toleration of religious beliefs is one thing, toleration of evil in the name of religion is another. I look forward to loud, widespread condemnation of terrorism by all Muslim clerics.

    • LOL

      She called the Nazi Pope a “Nazi?” What’s the problem?

      • LOLer

        America loves crap and calling Nazi’s Nazi’s

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