Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg stopped by “The Late Show With Stephane ColbertThursday evening to discuss his best film nominated “Les Fabelmans”, but also to deliver a message against anti-Semitism.
In “The Fabelmans,” a semi-autobiographical film based on Spielberg’s childhood, Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) experiences anti-Semitic abuse at the hands of his school bullies. After discussing the film, Colbert asked Spielberg if he found the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States and around the world surprising.
“I find that very, very surprising,” Spielberg replied. “Anti-Semitism has always been there, either it was just around the corner and slightly out of sight but still hidden, or it was much more overt like in Germany in the 1930s. But since the Germany of the 1930s , I didn’t see anti-Semitism either hidden, but proud, hands on hips like Hitler and Mussolini, kind of daring us to challenge it. I’ve never experienced that in my whole life, especially in this country.
Spielberg, who also directed the 1994 Holocaust drama ‘Schindler’s List,’ went on to say that anti-Semitism is part of a general pattern of hatred he’s observed over the past decade. .
“Somehow the marginalization of people who aren’t part of some sort of majority race is something that has plagued us for years and years and years…Hate has become a kind of membership in a club that has more members than I ever thought was possible in America,” he said. “And hate and anti-Semitism go hand in hand, you can’t separate the each other.”
However, Spielberg hopes people can learn and grow – a message he hopes to convey through the story of “The Fabelmans.”
“To quote Anne Frank, I think she’s right when she says most people are good,” Spielberg said. “And I think deep down inside us is kindness and empathy.”
Watch a clip from Spielberg’s interview with Colbert below.