The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Friday called on the editors of Tribune Media Services to apologize for a clue in a crossword puzzle that used the clue “Shylock, e.g.” to elicit a three-letter response, with the correct answer being “Jew.”
The clue appeared on Friday in several newspapers across the United States. “Shylock” is a reference to the Jewish moneylender character from Shakespeare’s play, “The Merchant of Venice.”
In the play, Shylock sets as security for his loan to the Christian Antonio, one pound of the lendee's flesh. When Antonio defaults on the loan Shylock demands the pound of flesh.
In a letter to Tribune Media Services, Abraham Foxman, ADL National Director wrote, “Perhaps the puzzle authors were unaware of the use of Shakespeare’s Shylock character throughout the years as a vehicle for anti-Semitism. Selecting Shylock to elicit the answer ‘Jew’ demonstrates cultural ignorance and an extreme lack of sensitivity. Even if done inadvertently, such a linkage perpetuates classic anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews as evil and money-hungry.”
The ADL also urged the media company to print an apology and not to use clues that "reinforce negative stereotypes about Jews or other groups in the future."