When horror super-producer Jason Blum accepted his honor at the Israel Film Festival on Tuesday night, he was booed offstage after making comments about President Donald Trump. According to Variety, Blum was booed when he made a reference to the night’s midterm election results, which were still coming in. “A lot is on the line, the last two years have been hard for all of us who cherish the freedom as citizens of this country,” he said. “The great thing about this country is that you can like Trump, but I don’t have to, and I can say what I feel about it — and I don’t like it!” he continued. Variety reported that there were a few walkouts in response to his speech, delivered at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.
Blum, who was being honored with the festival’s Achievement in Film & Television Award, continued to talk over the jeers. “As you can see from this auditorium, it’s the end of civil discourse,” he said. “We have a president who calls the press the enemy of the people. Thanks to our president, anti-Semitism is on the rise.”
The audience cheered when a man (identified by Variety as Yossi Dina, an Israeli pawnbroker who appeared on Beverly Hills Pawn) tried to pull Blum from the stage around the 2:34 mark in the video. Over the PA system, a woman called security to the stage.
After the event, Blum tweeted, “Well, this night went kinda haywire.”
Update: The Israel Film Festival has issued a statement in response to Blum’s speech at the event, with comments from Director and Founder Meir Fenigstein.
“Over the past three decades, we have never shied away from allowing a filmmaker or actor to express themselves either personally or through their work,” said Meir Fenigstein, the Festival Director and Founder. “We have often highlighted films that some may deem not to their liking or are controversial. We in no way condone violence but do wholeheartedly support dialogue that allows people to share ideas and viewpoints in a respectful way. Sadly, some audience members at last night’s opening greatly lacked that respect and turned an evening of celebration and recognition into something else.
“This is the first time we have ever experienced anything like this,” Fenigstein continued. “I am in total shock, but I realize that yesterday was a very tense day in America with the elections.”
A majority of the 1,200+ audience was respectful as Blum was making his remarks. To be clear, the Festival did not in any way remove Jason Blum from the stage. To protect him when an audience member in no way associated with the Festival charged the podium, the Festival security ushered Blum off the stage.