Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Roseanne Barr calls Natalie Portman 'repulsive' over Israeli prize refusal

Comedian also defends Kevin Hart's homophobic tweets

Roseanne Barr, who was fired from her TV show this year over racist tweets, will address Israel's parliament next month. AFP 
Roseanne Barr, who was fired from her TV show this year over racist tweets, will address Israel's parliament next month. AFP 

Disgraced comedian Roseanne Barr has called Natalie Portman “repulsive” after the Jacky star declined to accept an Israeli film award last year. The former Roseanne star made the comments in an interview with Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom ahead of her own visit to Israel, during which she will address the Israeli parliament. Barr used the same interview to defend comedian Kevin Hart, who stepped down as this year’s Oscars host following the resurfacing of old homophobic tweets.

Portman: 'I care about Israel'

Barr slammed Israeli-born Portman in the interview over her decision not to attend an award ceremony as the recipient of the Genesis Prize Laureate last June. Portman explained on social media that she "did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to be giving a speech at the ceremony". The Black Swan actress said: “[the] mistreatment of those suffering from today's atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power.” The ceremony was cancelled as a result.

"It was really sickening, I find her repulsive," Barr said of Portman in the interview. "She was raised in incredible privilege of safety in the Jewish state and knows nothing about anti-Semitism."

'She's the darling of the left'

Portman was born in Jerusalem and moved to the United States with her parents at the age of 3. The star has since become an outspoken critic of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, and a leading Jewish voice in opposition to the Israeli Prime Minister, though she has always been careful to note that her criticism is of the PM’s policies, not Israel itself.

Barr added: "She's the darling of the left here, the Jewish left in Hollywood, she is a complete hypocrite who grew up in safety and privilege, like I said before, and knows nothing about what she speaks of."

Barr on Hart

Actor Kevin Hart stepped down as Oscars 2019 host in December as his homophobic tweets resurfaced. AFP
Actor Kevin Hart stepped down as Oscars 2019 host in December as his homophobic tweets resurfaced. AFP

Never one for keeping her opinions to herself, Barr then moved on to the controversy surrounding Hart. There are some parallels between Hart’s removal as Oscar host and the cancellation of her own show, Roseanne, following racist tweets by the comic. Barr’s tweets were much more recent than Hart's, however.

"Largely they're digging up things that people did 15 and 20 years ago," she said. "Kevin Hart, his statements were really old and people grow up and change, and he did say he was sorry over and over," she said.

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Updated: January 20, 2019 06:12 PM

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