European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor reacted with disappointment and outrage to film director Lars Von Trier’s recent attempt at the Berlin Film Festival to justify his outrageous comments made earlier in the year at the Cannes Film Festival.
Earlier in the year Von Trier made comments about Hitler, the Nazis and the Jews which were described as “hate speech” by Kantor and led to the director being banned for life from the film festival.
“I said at the time that there must be consequences for this type of hate speech, but unfortunately they were not harsh enough to prevent Von Trier from revisiting this sick and twisted line of thought about the Nazis,” Kantor said.
“Unfortunately, the ridiculously light sentence handed to John Galliano sends exactly the wrong message to those who utilize hate speech and intolerance.”
On Thursday, the fashion designer was found guilty of “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity” and received a suspended €6,000 ($8,500) fine which will not have to be paid unless he re-offends within five years.
“It is outrageous that someone who told others that they ‘ought to be dead’ and expressed support for the Holocaust gets away with less than a slap on the wrist,” Kantor said. “This sentence demonstrates that there appears to be a culture of impunity in the entertainment world.”
“These two events together send a very ominous message to the outside world that look up to figures like Von Trier and Galliano.
“It is time that the entertainment world became more serious about hate speech, and those who spout intolerance and bigotry should immediately be rejected by the industry and treated like the pariah their comments deserve.”