Bradley Cooper is in hot water.
The 48-year-old star of the upcoming movie “Maestro” is facing widespread criticism over his depiction of the famed composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.
The film, which was co-written, produced and directed by Cooper, is a biographical romance that tells the story of Bernstein’s career and his 25-year marriage to Felicia Montealegre.
However, netizens were quick to point out Cooper’s wearing a prosthetic nose that was presumably intended to make him look more Jewish.
“Hollywood cast Bradley Cooper — a non Jew — to play Jewish legend Leonard Bernstein and stuck a disgusting exaggerated ‘Jew nose’ on him,” StopAntisemitism wrote on X.
“All while saying no to Jake Gyllenhaal, an actually Jewish man, who has dreamt of playing Bernstein for decades,” they added. “Sickening.”
Hollywood cast Bradley Cooper – a non Jew – to play Jewish legend Leonard Bernstein and stuck a disgusting exaggerated “Jew nose” on him.
All while saying no to Jake Gyllenhaal, an actually Jewish man, who has dreamt of playing Bernstein for decades.
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) August 16, 2023
Ben J. Freeman, a columnist at The Jerusalem Post, similarly accused Cooper of “erasing” Jews.
“Bradley Cooper should not be playing Leonard Bernstein,” he wrote. “He should not be wearing a prosthetic nose. This is Jew-face & is as serous & offensive as Black-face or the racialising of other minorities. Stop erasing Jews. Stop erasing Jew-hate. Jews do count.
Bradley Cooper should not be playing Leonard Bernstein. He should not be wearing a prosthetic nose.
This is Jew-face & is as serous & offensive as Black-face or the racialising of other minorities.
Stop erasing Jews. Stop erasing Jew-hate. Jews do count.
— Ben M. Freeman (@BenMFreeman) August 16, 2023
Yet not all Jewish commentators agree. Among them was Howard Feldman, who described the controversy as “absolute rubbish.”
This Bradley Cooper #jewface hysteria is absolute rubbish.
It’s manufactured outrage.
Don’t get caught up in it.
(Does that make a bad Jew, or one that is happy with his Jewish nose?)https://t.co/IbOnOM0vYA
— Howard Feldman (@HowardFeldman) August 16, 2023
The backlash even led to the term “Jewface” trending on X, for which its owner Elon Musk was criticized.
— David Leavitt 🎲🎮🧙♂️🌈 (@David_Leavitt) August 16, 2023
Meanwhile, the issue was downplayed by Bernstein’s family, who passionately defended Cooper in a statement slamming the “disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch — a practice we observed all too often perpetrated on our own father.”
“It’s true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose,” the statement read, according to NBC News. “Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that. We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well.”
“At all times during the making of this film, we could feel the profound respect and yes, the love that Bradley brought to this portrayal of Leonard Bernstein and his wife, our mother Felicia,” it continued.
“Maestro” will premiere next at the Venice Film Festival this September, before hitting theaters on Nov. 22. It will be released on Netflix on Dec. 20.
Author: Ben Kew