Stepson of 'The Irishman' Character Condemns Netflix Movie in N.Y. Times Op-Ed

The Irishman Production Still Cast - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Netflix

The stepson of Chuckie O'Brien, played in the film by Jesse Plemons, writes that the Martin Scorsese feature is the "capstone to my stepfather’s 44-year humiliation."

In an editorial published in the New York Times on Friday, the stepson of Chuckie O'Brien — the foster son of Jimmy Hoffa who is portrayed in Martin Scorsese's The Irishman — is calling the movie "by far the greatest depiction of the false charge against my stepfather."

Jack Goldsmith, who is the author of a book titled In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth, writes about the toll that misinformation took on O'Brien, now 86 years old and living in Boca Raton, Fla. 

Based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, The Irishman tracks the life of Teamsters official Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) and his relationship with Hoffa (Al Pacino), as well as his involvement in Hoffa's 1975 disappearance and supposed confession to his murder. The movie is considered an Academy Awards best picture contender and will be competing for several awards at Sunday's Golden Globes ceremony, including best motion picture – drama, best director and best supporting actor for both Pacino and Joe Pesci.

Played by Jesse Plemons, O'Brien is seen in the Netflix movie as driving Hoffa and Sheeran to a Detroit-area home, where Sheeran shoots and kills Hoffa.  

Goldsmith writes that "the movie is high fiction. 'One of the greatest fake movies I ever saw,' Chuckie told me." He also notes that O'Brien is upset that the role he played in Hoffa's life — as a bodyguard and confidant — was portrayed in the movie as being Sheeran's.

According to Goldsmith, after seeing the movie, O'Brien told him: "I’d like to get hold of that Scorsese and choke him like a chicken. And then after I get through with him, I’d grab that other pipsqueak, the guy who played the Irishman." Goldsmith adds, "Chuckie is too frail for this to be a threat, and indeed he clearly did not mean it as a threat. It is an end-of-life cri de coeur by a man whose being has been enveloped, and destroyed, by demeaning public untruths that he lacked power to rectify."

Goldsmith also condemns other onscreen composites of O'Brien, including the 1992 movie Hoffa and 1981's Absence of Malice. But he concludes his editorial calling The Irishman the "capstone to my stepfather’s 44-year humiliation."