Another week, another Nazi controversy.
After Hank Williams Jr. stirred the pot by referencing Hitler earlier this month, now actress Susan Sarandon is raising eyebrows after calling the Pope a "nazi." But whereas Williams's comment was an analogy and not a comparison, Sarandon's seems to be at best a misunderstanding of history and at worst an obvious comparison.
Sarandon made the remark during a Hamptons International Film Festival interview Saturday with actor Bob Balaban. Here's how Newday, which first reported the exchange, reported it:
She was discussing her 1995 film "Dead Man Walking," based on the anti-death-penalty book by Sister Helen Prejean, a copy of which she sent to the pope.
"The last one," she said, "not this Nazi one we have now." Balaban gently tut-tutted, but Sarandon only repeated her remark.
The outlet adds that it was "somewhat offhanded," but given the fact that she repeated after being given the chance to recant, it does seem to pose some problems.
It's worth pointing out that the Pope, Benedict XVI, does have a history with the Nazis. He was a member of the Hitler Youth as a child. But that's only becuase he was forced to join.
The comments have been met with some apprehension. "[I]f the gaggle of celebs who have invoked Hitler’s name have taught us anything, it’s that comparing anyone to a Nazi is usually a bad idea," writes Sarah Anne Hughes of the Washington Post. Newsday adds:
"Of all the places on largely Catholic Long Island, perhaps only in the Hamptons could Sarandon get a laugh with such a comment. She may have only used 'Nazi' to mean 'dictatorial' or 'cold,' but it's a dangerous word for public figures to throw around. In Cannes, after the director Lars von Trier randomly and jokingly called himself a Nazi, the French festival banned him and demanded an apology. He has since stopped talking to the media."
We'll see if any of her movies get pulled from TV.