Nate Bloom blogs on this week’s Jews in the News
Grossberg and Carlson; Belafonte Family; and New Shows
Right after the news broke that Tucker Carlson had been fired (April 24), a CNN early morning newscaster read a list of “things” that might have led-up to his firing. On this list was the lawsuit that ABBY GROSSBERG, 42, a former Fox News producer, had brought against Fox News. The newscaster said that Grossberg, who was the head booker of guests for the Carlson show, alleged that there was a discriminatory atmosphere in the Fox newsroom—”which effected women and religious minorities.”
I thought, what ‘religious minorities?’ How many Hindus, Muslims, or Sikhs worked for Fox News? Not many, I’m sure.
I figured it was the usual news media misleading mishegoss (nonsense). “They” act like it would be rude to call anti-Semitism--anti-Semitism. It’s usually buried under the term “religious discrimination”. For example, for years, mainstream news outlets would report the “religious hate crime” statistics without noting that the crimes directed at American Jews equaled, or exceeded the hate crimes against all other religious groups, combined (!). Only a spate of recent serious anti-Semitic events led some mainstream media outlets to occasionally mention this fact.
I hadn’t followed Grossberg’s lawsuit that closely. When it was filed in March, the articles I read didn’t mention that Grossberg’s complaint alleged anti-Semitism in the Fox newsroom. Last week, I quickly found some March articles that did mention that anti-Semitism is in her complaint. But all but one of these articles did NOT repeat the instances of anti-Semitic harassment that are laid out in Grossberg’s complaint. So far as I can tell, only the “Forward” newspaper did that last March.
The worst actor was Alexander McCaskill, the Senior Producer of the Carlson show. McCaskill repeatedly needled Grossberg and her colleague, ELDAD YARON, with hurtful anti-Semitic “junk” remarks. Two examples: “Are you going to the Jew bakery?” and publicly ridiculing Yaron for taking two days off for the High Holidays.
McCaskill obviously thought he could get away with these remarks, as well as sexism, because the “big bosses”—Carlson, and the Murdochs, set a “tone.” Carlson clearly engaged in “dog whistle” anti-Semitism---blaming almost everything on Jewish billionaire GEORGE SOROS and pushing the conspiracy theory that Soros, and others, were ‘replacing’ “white” Americans with people of color. This “theory” is a favorite of Neo-Nazis.
On April 26, Grossberg told MSNBC that she had never experienced anti-Semitism prior to working for the Tucker Carlson program. It shocked her.
It’s now clear that Grossberg’s complaint, and the recordings of Carlson, and others, that were on Grossberg’s phones, were absolutely in the “mix” of “things” that led to Carlson’s firing. But it still remains unclear how central they were.
As I finished writing this column, the news came that legendary singer/actor Harry Belafonte had died, age 96. Here’s just some of his many Jewish ties.
Harry wrote in his memoir that his paternal grandfather was a Dutch Jew who settled in the Caribbean. However, Harry never met this grandfather and the best sources say that its “possible” that he had a Jewish grandfather, but this has never been verified. Harry was raised Catholic.
His daughter, Shari Belafonte, now 68, was a pretty hot actress in the ‘80s. She’s the child of Harry’s first wife, a non-Jewish African-American. Her husband since 1989 is Jewish actor SAM BEHRENS, now 72. He had big roles in “General Hospital” and “Knots Landing”, but his career cooled-off around 1990. The couple have no children.
Shari’s half-sister, actress GINA BELAFONTE, now 61, has worked in small film and TV roles to this day and she is a political activist, like Harry. Her mother is former (Jewish) dancer JULIE ROBINSON, now 94. Robinson and Harry were married from 1957-2004. Gina’s husband is not Jewish. They have one child.
“Silo” is a 10-episode series that begins streaming on Apple+ on May 5. The official description says: “In a toxic dystopian future where a community exists in a giant silo hundreds of stories deep underground, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them.” Advance publicity doesn’t detail the “back story” of most of the main characters. I can tell you that RASHIDA JONES, 47, co-stars as “Allison”.
“The Game Show Show” is an ABC series 4-part documentary series that premieres on May 8 (10PM). The final three episodes premiere on successive Wednesdays. It’s a fun look at over 80 years of game shows, starting with radio programs and, then, into the era of TV. There a lot of game clips and interviews with contemporary celebrities. These celebs include HOWIE MANDEL, 67, and MARC CUBAN, 64. (On Hulu the day after ABC showing).