‘Jewface’ controversy: Star’s fake nose defended by family of late composer

The children of film’s subject say complaints are “disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch.”

By World Israel News Staff

The trailer for a new movie in which A-List actor Bradley Cooper portrays famed Jewish-American composer Leonard Bernstein has sparked controversy due to the star wearing a prosthetic nose.

Some critics and social media users have questioned why Cooper, who is not Jewish, was cast for the role in the upcoming movie Maestro, instead of a Jewish actor. Others have suggested that his use of the prosthetic nose is inherently offensive.

The term “Jewface” has been used to describe non-Jewish actors who use makeup or prosthetics to create a more stereotypically Jewish appearance. Users of the term often equate Jewface with blackface and other offensive depictions of various ethnic groups.

But Bernstein’s family is fighting back, saying that they completely support Cooper’s efforts to look more like the accomplished composer.

Bernstein’s children, Jamie, Alexander, and Nina Bernstein stressed that Cooper had reached out to them “along every step of his amazing journey” in order to ensure that his portrayal of their father was as accurate as possible.

“It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of [Cooper’s] efforts,” they said in a media statement. “It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose. 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.”

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The Bernstein children added that the criticism appears to be a case of political correctness gone awry.

“Any strident complaints around this issue strike us above all as disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch,” they added.

British actress Helen Mirren recently fielded similar criticism for playing late Israeli prime minister Golda Meir.