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Bradley Cooper has been accused of “Jewface.”
Cooper portrays composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein in the upcoming film Maestro, a biographical romance focused on Bernstein’s 25-year marriage to Felicia Montealegre.
On Tuesday, Netflix released a trailer for the title. But the quality of the teaser went mostly unnoticed compared to Cooper’s nose. On social media, the perpetually offended called Cooper’s prosthetic nose a form of antisemitism.
StopAntisemitism calls itself the “Leading non-partisan American-based organization fighting antisemitism.” That, of course, is not true. But the group does effectively stir outrage.
“Hollywood cast Bradley Cooper – a non-Jew – to play Jewish legend Leonard Bernstein and stuck a disgusting exaggerated ‘Jew nose’ on him,” StopAntisemitism posted on X. “Sickening.”
So much fake outrage in one tweet, err post.
NBC News compiled a list of responses also charging Cooper with antisemitism:
“Bradley Cooper is putting himself in an insanely large prosthetic nose to play a Jewish man in Maestro and we’re all just supposed to act like that’s cool and normal?”
“Just looked up a picture of the real Leonard Bernstein…. the big antisemitic prosthetic nose on Bradley Cooper was definitely not necessary…” another commenter wrote.
“I saw Bradley Cooper play the elephant man with no prosthetics on Broadway,” another social media user said. “But then he plays a Jew and decides he needs a huge nose?”
“He’s the director too so don’t blame anyone else,” they added.
“There was no need for Bradley Cooper to add an odd prosthetic nose on top of this to play Leonard Bernstein,” one social media user wrote. “His own nose is longer! And I still would have preferred they at least give Jewish actors a chance to audition before automatically casting someone more famous,” they said, adding the hashtag “#JewFace.”
What’s worse: Cooper wearing a prosthetic nose for a film or Alec Baldwin shooting a woman dead on set?
The term “Jewface” now trends on X.
Jewface is real, but Womanface is not. At least that’s what the arbiters of outrage tell us.
Just as amusing as seeing the vulture screech about Cooper’s nose is how Bernstein’s old children tried to debase the outrage.
Bernstein’s kids issued a statement in defense of Cooper, saying the actor included them in his “journey” to play their father.
“It’s true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose,” reads the statement. “Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that. We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well.
“At all times during the making of this film, we could feel the profound respect and yes, the love that Bradley brought to this portrayal of Leonard Bernstein and his wife, our mother Felicia,” the statement concludes.
Leonard Bernstein had a big nose. It would be inauthentic to depict him otherwise, as it would be to one day depict Jay Leno without an abnormally large chin.
And Bradley Cooper, given his versatility as a performer, projects to play Bernstein well. Bernstein’s own children agree. One could argue their feelings trump the feelings of journalists on X and the partisans behind StopAntisemitism.
The outrage over Jewface reminds us of those who accused the film The Whale of “fat appropriation” for casting a man in a fat suit instead of a 600-pound actor. We aren’t joking.
By the way, not all Jews have big noses. And not everyone with a large snout is a Jew.