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Chelsea Handler’s Adolf Hitler parody on her E! Channel show Chelsea Lately this week has been labled “tasteless, offensive and hurtful to Holocaust survivors” by the Anti-Defamation League.
“While we try to give comedians leeway and do not believe that Nazi jokes should be completely off limits,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL national director and a Holocaust survivor, “this was an instance of taking a Hitler parody to the extreme. It was tasteless, offensive and hurtful, both to Holocaust survivors and their families and to members of the German team and all Germans.”
Handler’s sidekick Chuy Bravo appeared on the show dressed in a Hitler costume. When asked why, he said, “Because Germany won the World Cup.”
This led to a number of jokes and comments, with one panelist on the show adding, “I’m a Jew, but I’m still glad Germany won. It’s nice for them to have something gold that they didn’t pry out of my grandfather’s mouth.”
As the bit concluded, Chuy said: “I am dressed as Hitler as a joke, but I want everyone to know that he was a terrible man. I love Jews. Good night.” The ADL noted its complaint is mainly about Handler’s continued references to the bit.
“This Hitler parody in itself was tasteless,” said Foxman, “but Chelsea Handler’s references to it throughout the program and her connecting it with Germany’s World Cup victory took the joke way overboard.”
The ADL had complained last week that after Germany won there were comments on Twitter and in social media about Hitler, along with Nazi jokes, that the group feels made light of a serious matter. The ADL noted that the democratic government of Germany has rejected and denounced the country’s “horrific” past.
The jokes on Handler’s show, Foxman wrote in a letter to E!, “Only play into this trivialization of what happened during the Holocaust…. This trend only seems to be getting worse as time passes and as Holocaust survivors and the memory of what really happened during World War II dwindles.”
The show Chelsea Lately is due to end its run on E! on Aug. 26. Handler has signed a new deal to do a show on Netflix beginning sometime in 2016.
E! Entertainment Television, which is owned by Comcast, declined to comment about the ADL complaint.
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