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Sarah Silverman has hit out at Hollywood for casting non-Jewish people in Jewish roles.
The 50-year-old actress – who is Jewish herself – has criticised the lack of representation in major roles, particularly when the character’s “Jewishness” is “front and centre”.
Speaking on ‘The Sarah Silverman Podcast’, she said: “There’s this long tradition of non-Jews playing Jews. And not just playing people who happen to be Jewish, but people whose Jewishness is their whole being.
“One could argue, for instance, that a Gentile playing Joan Rivers correctly would be doing what is actually called ‘Jewface’.
“‘Jewface’ – doesn’t feel good to say – is defined as when a non-Jew portrays a Jew with the Jewishness front and centre, often with makeup or changing of features, big fake nose, all the New York-y or Yiddish-y inflection.
“And in a time when the importance of representation is seen as so essential and so front and centre, why does ours constantly get breached even today in the thick of it?”
Sarah noted if there is a female Jewish character who is “courageous or deserves love, she is never played by a Jew”.
Her comments come as Kathryn Hahn – who is Catholic – has been linked to play Joan Rivers in an upcoming biopic, while ‘On the Basis of Sex’ star Felicity Jones and ‘The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel’ actress Rachael Brosnahan played Jewish characters in the respective films.
While Sarah noted the actresses themselves are not “doing anything wrong”, she said the overall situation is “f***** up”.
She added: “Right now, representation f****** matters. It has to also finally matter for Jews as well. Especially Jewish women.”
In the past, casting director Jen Rudin has defended casting decisions and argued her job is to find the best talent for a specific role, rather than type casting.
She said: “Acting is a profession and our goal and job as casting directors is to hire the most qualified actor for the role.
“Kathryn Hahn is wonderful as Rabbi Raquel in Amazon’s ‘Transparent’ and my close friend Grant Shaud is hilarious as Miles Silverberg on ‘Murphy Brown’.
“Neither are Jewish but both gave fantastic performances of characters who are Jewish.”