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Susan Sarandon Called Out By Anti-Defamation League

Academy Award

Susan Sarandon Called Out By Anti-Defamation League

Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon has spoken out against the current Pope of the Catholic Church in an interview on Saturday.  The interview conducted by fellow actor Bob Balaban was about Sarandon's long and successful acting career as part of the Hamptons Film Festival.

Sarandon is known to be very outspoken and is a social activist.  She told Balaban that she sent a copy of the book "Dead man Walking" to the pope.  According to Newsday magazine she reportedly said "The last one. Not this Nazi (Pope Benedict) one we have now."  The actress won an Oscar for her role in the 1995 anti-death penalty film.

The remark was made during a public discussion at the film festival in New York.  It triggered harsh criticism fro both Catholic and Jewish groups.  Newsday said Balaban gently chided Sarandon for the remark but she repeated it.

Anti-Defamation League Asks For Apology

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which fights anti-Semitism, called on Sarandon to apologize to the Catholic Community.

"Ms. Sarandon may have her differences with the Catholic Church, but that is no excuse for throwing around Nazi analogies. Such words are hateful, vindictive and only serve to diminish the true history and meaning of the Holocaust," the ADL said in a statement.

The New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called Sarandon's remark "obscene" and said in a Monday statement that her "ignorance is willful."

Pope Benedict's Compulsory Membership In Hitler Youth Group

German born Pope Benedict, formerly Joseph Ratzinger, was briefly a member of the Hitler Youth in the early 1940s when membership was compulsory, the Vatican has said. He deserted the military during World War Two and has said that as devout Catholics, his parents rejected Nazi ideology.

Sarandon, 65, who was raised in New York as a Roman Catholic, is known for her support of causes ranging from hunger and AIDS to opposing the U.S.-led war in Iraq. The "Thelma and Louise" star was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1999.

Sarandon's Hollywood agent did not respond to media calls for comment on Monday.

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