Childhood antisemitism made Steven Spielberg ‘ashamed of being Jewish’

Childhood antisemitism made Steven Spielberg ‘ashamed of being Jewish’

Oscar-winning director opens up about bullying he suffered when younger as part of documentary called 'Why We Hate' on the Discovery Channel

Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg

Schindler’s List director Steven Spielberg has revealed how childhood antisemitic bullying made him feel “ashamed” to be Jewish.

The Oscar-winning director and producer was speaking about his early experiences of anti-Jewish hatred while on a visit to India this week, just weeks after his new six-part documentary ‘Why We Hate’ aired on the Discovery Channel.

“I encountered antisemitism as an elementary school student in my school, and not throughout the entire school but small parts of popular kids they would pick on less popular kids, in my case zero popularity, growing up,” he said.

“I didn’t think of it as hate but thought of it as a shame. I was ashamed of a lot of things and they actually managed with enough chiding and bullying to make me actually feel ashamed of being Jewish.

“Inside me, I have always been very proud of to be a Jewish. I was on the receiving end of people’s power trips and that was my main experience with being hated, something that I had no control over.

“I felt pretty much like an outcast and when I got older, I realised bullying is a very pervasive tool to make other people feel like they are empowered.”

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