Jewish-American actress Emmy Rossum weighed in earlier this week on the issue of stereotypes in the film industry, describing on Twitter her opinion and experiences in Hollywood in response to another celebrity, Winona Ryder.Ryder had remarked on antisemitism in Hollywood after encountering Mel Gibson, himself known for a long record of making antisemitic comments and films accused of antisemitic stereotypes.
A former Shameless star, a hit show on the US network Showtime, Rossum described in a number of tweets her personal experience with Jewish stereotypes in the film industry, saying in a tweet in response to Winona Ryder's comments that "On multiple occasions I’ve had people — both in the industry and not — be surprised to learn that I’m Jewish. They usually react with 'Oh! Wow. You don’t really LOOK Jewish.'
"And when I offer no response and let the statement linger they continue with some kind of defensive qualifier like I mean that in a GOOD way! As if 'looking Jewish' — whatever that means to them — is something I should want to avoid. This makes me sick," Rossum noted, indicating that Hollywood casting agents consider stereotypical images of Jews.
She further elaborated on this issue, saying "I can’t even tell you the amount of times I received audition feedback solely based on my appearance: 'too ethnic' 'just want someone more “American” looking' 'we ideally want a blonde with blue eyes, someone that just looks nicer'..... etc."
Noting her privilege as a Caucasian women in the context of the film industry, Rossum said, "And this is my experience as a WHITE woman. I can only imagine the impossible hurdles of getting a job as a person of color in this industry. Have I even felt 1/1000th of the intolerance, bigotry and pain that POC are routinely subjected to? I don’t know."
Beyond her role on Shameless, Rossum has also directed other television shows and starred in feature films.