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“Zone of Interest” executive producer disagrees with director Jonathan Glazer's Oscars speech: 'It’s upset a lot of people'

“Zone of Interest” executive producer disagrees with director Jonathan Glazer's Oscars speech: 'It’s upset a lot of people'

"I just fundamentally disagree with Jonathan on this."

An executive producer on The Zone of Interest is speaking out against the speech the film's director, Jonathan Glazer, delivered when he accepted this year's Oscar for best international feature.

Danny Cohen said he "fundamentally" disagrees with Glazer's remarks, which drew parallels between the Holocaust film and the current conflict in Gaza. “It’s really important to recognize it’s upset a lot of people and a lot of people feel upset and angry about it. And I understand that anger frankly," Cohen said on the latest episode of Yonit Levi and Jonathan Freedland's Unholy podcast.

The producer added that he's heard from "a lot" of people in the Jewish community who viewed the movie as important to Holocaust education but are upset it is “mixed up with what’s going on now [in Gaza], whether that was Jonathan’s intention or not to do that.”

Cohen continued, “I just fundamentally disagree with Jonathan on this. The war and the continuation of the war is the responsibility of Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization which continues to hold and abuse the hostages, which doesn’t use its tunnels to protect the innocent civilians of Gaza but uses it to hide themselves and allow Palestinians to die."

<p>Frank Micelotta/Disney via Getty</p>

Frank Micelotta/Disney via Getty

EW has reached out to A24, the production company behind The Zone of Interest, and Glazer for comment.

In his acceptance speech on Sunday, Glazer connected his groundbreaking film with the crisis in Gaza, saying, "Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst. It’s shaped all of our past and present. Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people. Whether the victims of October — whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?”

Glazer delivered the speech alongside producers James Wilson and Len Blavatnik, the latter of whom later revealed he had not been consulted on the remarks beforehand. “No, he didn’t clear the speech,” Lisa Shields, a spokesperson for Blavatnik, told The Hollywood Reporter. “But he’s incredibly proud of the film and the accolades it has received and he doesn’t want to distract from the important themes of the movie.”

The public response to the speech has proved divisive, with support from those calling for a cease-fire appearing alongside criticism. Jewish Voice for Peace executive director Stefanie Fox told Variety Glazer "speaks for the massive and growing number of Jews who honor our histories by joining our Palestinian siblings in their struggle for freedom and justice.”

On the Unholy podcast, Cohen said that while he thinks "the war is tragic and awful and the loss of civilian life is awful," he "[blames] Hamas for that." He added that he finds it "regrettable" that the success of the film has been overshadowed by controversy.

"John spent 10 years making the film and has made something remarkable, but people are talking more this week about what he said for 30 seconds," he continued. "And I think that's regrettable because I'd love just the conversation that he focused on, on the film itself. So John has the right to say what he wants to say, but, you know, I don't agree with what he said.”

The Zone of Interest, which follows the home life of Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz, also took home the Oscar for best sound on Sunday.

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