Shalom Life | April 16, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Jon Lovitz Talks the Power of Twitter, Anti-Semitism

The comedian talks with Shalom Life about his tweets and pictures that led to the expulsion of three middle school girls in California

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: April 18th, 2012 in Culture » Society » Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: Jon Lovitz Talks the Power of Twitter, Anti-Semitism

Jon Lovitz has made a career of making people laugh, but last week he celebrated a victory that was no laughing matter.

Three teen bullies from a middle school in Northridge, California (driven by one of their mothers) vandalized Lovitz’s friends home with hateful words and symbols, and feces. The teen girls wrote ‘Jew’ alongside swastikas written in maple syrup on his friends’ walkway leading to the front door of the house, in their disgusting attempt to scare and offend Lovitz’s friends’ daughter, a schoolmate of theirs.

Lovitz posted twitpics of the incident and posted a series of tweets to bring awareness to the incident.

“Some coward & idiot left this on a friend’s doorstep, yesterday. This is an insult to all of us,” Lovitz wrote.

Later that same day, Lovitz tweeted a photo of three teen girls, writing “The 3 girls who are bullying my friend’s daughter. They want to be known. Let them be famous Jew haters. Pls RT.”

The photo of the three girls along with Lovitz’s message spread through the Twitterverse like wildfire, leading to the girls being charged with a hate incident, and the mother facing criminal charges as well. Additionally, the three bullies were expelled from their school.

Lovitz celebrated by tweeting, “UPDATE!!!! The three girls who vandalized my friends home with swastikas and dog crap, have been expelled from their school permanently.”

Shalom Life had a chance to speak with Lovitz about the incident and our responsibility to be accountable for our actions.

Ashley Baylen (AB): Being an avid Twitter user, did you tweet about the anti-Semitic incident expecting this reaction?

Jon Lovitz (JL): No, I am frankly shocked at the reaction, but quite pleased with it. I didn’t really expect any reaction, except maybe a few people. I did it more for my friends’ daughter, hoping people would see it and stick up for her. Which they did… in droves!!!

AB: With the recent backlash on some celebrities for irresponsible tweets, like spike lee on Zimmerman, should there be accountability on tweets being sent?

JL: Yes. I believe a person should be accountable for all their actions.

AB: Do you believe there is an increase in anti-Semitic related hate crime or is the availability of camera phones, twitter, etc just making it more known?

JL: I don’t know if there’s an increase, but the Internet is definitely making incidents well known. Another reason I tweeted about this was because I found it disgusting and felt somebody needed to stand up for my friend and his daughter. This incident could not just be swept under the rug. This is how it started in Germany and it needed to be nipped in the bud!!!

AB: Do you believe its responsibility as a celebrity with a following and a voice to be more pro-active than others?

JL: No. It is my responsibility to entertain to the best of my ability. I have never done something like this before, but felt compelled to do so. I believe it is up to the individual to decide to take action and if they believe they can help a worth cause and are compelled to do so, then that is their personal decision and right as a citizen of the United States.

AB: And most importantly, what do we need to do to see ‘The Critic’ back on TV?

JL: Write letters to Fox TV and Sony!!! I’ve tried to get it going again, but it isn’t up to me. I’m flattered you like it that much, so thanks!

Follow Jon Lovitz on Twitter @realjonlovitz

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