Reprinted from Variety by Malina Saval on June 18, 2021.
“Several years ago, a non-Jewish film producer turned to me,” writes Malina Saval in Variety, “and announced, casually and with an air of arrogance and ignorance reserved particularly for bigots, ‘Jews control Hollywood.’
“He assured me this was a compliment, as many antisemites are wont, trotting out Neal Gabler’s seminal text on the subject, ‘An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood,’ as evidence. But it was clear that said producer had either never read Gabler’s book, or missed one of its key points entirely: the founding producers of the film biz were Jewish, most of them Eastern European immigrants, excluded and ostracized from virtually every other industry in America.
“William Fox, Carle Laemmle, Louis B. Mayer — they created Hollywood out of collective necessity, a decidedly human desire to realize the American Dream. They were not wanted anywhere else. But if these pioneering studio heads were Jewish, the majority of directors, writers and actors were not. Preston Sturges, Frank Capra, John Ford, Howard Hawkes — these were the artists largely shaping early 20th century cinema in the US.
“In short, there is a core etymological difference between invent and control. …