The Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles released a statement today after Jason Blum made anti-Donald Trump remarks during his honorary speech last night, saying “the Festival did not in any way remove Jason Blum from the stage. To protect him when an audience member in no way associated with the Festival charged the podium, the Festival security ushered Blum off the stage.”
Blum’s speech triggered boos, and for a moment at the onset of the Facebook video below, it looks as though the Get Out and Halloween producer is being forcibly pulled off stage. This is soon followed by a loud speaker voice booming, “We need security on stage immediately please”. Blum is seen finishing his remarks, ending his speech with “Now I’m being physically removed, which is why Trump is not the right guy for us.” The producer then walks off stage. Blum’s team had no response to the IFF’s statement.
Here’s the festival’s statement in which they wag a finger at their audience for showing disrespect to someone with opposing views, yet claim that a majority of the 1,200+ audience was respectful:
For 32 years, the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles has presented more than 1,000 feature films, documentaries, television dramas and short films to close to one million filmgoers and brought hundreds of Israeli filmmakers to the U.S. to share their art. Last night, at the opening of the 32nd edition, the Festival honored two highly esteemed filmmakers, producer Jason Blum and writer/director Avi Nesher, for their great contributions to cinema. Through their work, they entertain audiences around the world. Their artistic expression and opinions are their own and, fortunately, the U.S. protects their freedom of speech. While some may not agree with one’s point of view, many have fought and lost their lives for the very fundamental right to articulate their thoughts, opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation.
“Over the past three decades, we have never shied away from allowing a filmmaker or actor to express themselves either personally or through their work,” said Meir Fenigstein, the Festival Director and Founder. “We have often highlighted films that some may deem not to their liking or are controversial. We in no way condone violence but do wholeheartedly support dialogue that allows people to share ideas and viewpoints in a respectful way. Sadly, some audience members at last night’s opening greatly lacked that respect and turned an evening of celebration and recognition into something else.
“This is the first time we have ever experienced anything like this,” Fenigstein continued. “I am in total shock, but I realize that yesterday was a very tense day in America with the elections.”
A majority of the 1,200+ audience was respectful as Blum was making his remarks. To be clear, the Festival did not in any way remove Jason Blum from the stage. To protect him when an audience member in no way associated with the Festival charged the podium, the Festival security ushered Blum off the stage.
Festival screenings will continue to show at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills and the Laemmle Town Center 5 Theatre in Encino through November 20th. More than 40 films are scheduled to play the Festival and over 25 Israeli filmmakers, actors and executives are in Los Angeles in support of their work. Moviegoers are invited to explore the best of Israeli cinema at the Festival and discover and learn for themselves the stories and cultural expressions of others.
Here’s a Facebook video of the security ruckus last night and the booing crowd: