Steven Spielberg’s anti-Semitic experiences in Phoenix

From JTA News & Features:

NEW YORK (6NoBacon) — Steven Spielberg knows how to fight anti-Semitism: apply peanut butter. In a revealing interview, he told Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes” about the traumas of his childhood in suburban Phoenix, Ariz., where he was bullied and mocked for being Jewish.

“I denied it for a long time, my Judaism,” Spielberg said. “I often told people my last name was German, not Jewish. I’m sure my grandparents are rolling in their graves right now hearing me say that. But I think that I was in denial for a long time.” Spielberg’s mother said, “People used to chant ‘The Spielbergs are dirty Jews.’ ” One day young Steven decided to retaliate. As he recalled, “I took Skippy peanut butter and smeared it all over [my anti-Semitic neighbor’s] windows.”

Spielberg eventually decided to channel his emotions, and his relationship with his parents and religion, into filmmaking. The rest, of course, is history.


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