Mandy Patinkin, a lead actor on the Showtime series Homeland, made news last Friday by claiming “white men” in government and the military are the real “bad guys” and should be shown as such in his television series and other entertainment.
Homeland is now into its sixth season, with star Claire Danes no longer portraying a CIA agent mentored by Patinkin’s CIA character. Instead, she’s working for a foundation to aid Muslim refugees.
The show’s been criticized for portraying Muslims as terrorists for much of the first four seasons, and Danes as the CIA operative working to thwart them. Critics claim the show provoked anti-Muslim sentiment.
The plot line has shifted dramatically in the new season, with Patinkin making over the top comments related to the changes, which can be found on the next page.
In an interview last Friday on MSNBC with Chuck Todd, Patinkin defended the show’s decision to provide a more sympathetic portrayal of Muslims. But in doing so, he made some shockingly ignorant statements.
Todd asked the actor about the fear some Americans have about possible terrorists being mixed in with Syrian and other Muslim refugees.
In response, Patinkin noted that government leaders throughout history have chosen people to vilify.
Well, this is where Homeland and the real world are one for me because I started to say earlier it’s false information. It’s not the truth in terms of how you get elected and the tools you use. It’s the oldest trick in the book. I find someone to vilify. In movies, it was cowboys and Indians and the Nazis, Communists, you know.”
Did Patinkin really mean to imply that Nazis should not have been, nor should be, vilified? Then why do so many of his Hollywood colleagues continually smear conservative and/or Republicans with the Nazi label? That’s a peculiar remark coming from a Jewish actor.
He followed up his comments on vilified groups by touting the contributions Muslims have made to the world.
Now, they’ve chosen the Muslim community – a community who’s made contributions to the world of a monumental nature.”
From there, he moved on to the plot line shift for Homeland and his controversial comments about “white men” in government.
… it is white men in the government and the military establishment that are the bad guys, not the Muslim community.”
He went on to call the Muslim community a “gift,” and the “fabric of what makes America great.” He noted that 900,000 Muslims have come into the United States since the terrorist attack of September 11. From there, he ventured totally into his own alternate reality.
Not a single terrorist incident has taken place by a refugee who’s been resettled in the United States. These are the safest citizens we have.”
Apparently, Patinkin is so deeply ensconced in his Hollywood bubble that he completely overlooked the horrific acts of the Tsarnaev brothers at the Boston Marathon just four years ago to the day. He must not have heard about the terrible shootings in San Bernardino as well.
It’s all well and good to reach out to the Muslim community and try to make it a more integrated part of society. But it’s just irresponsible to make inflammatory statements about “white men” being the “bad guys” and ignore the facts about terror committed by Muslim refugees in America, as well as in Europe.