Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis Takes a Stand Against Kanye West’s Antisemitic Tweet

Jamie Lee Curtis, award-winning actress, “Scream Queen,” and activist, has taken a public stand against recent antisemitic tweets from Kanye West.

Curtis is originally from the beach town of Santa Monica, California, a daughter of actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, and herself mother of two. Her father was Jewish, the son of two Hungarian emigrants from the town of Mátészalka. While raised primarily by her mother and stepfather, she is proud of her Jewish roots. 

So it was that when she awoke on October 9 to Kanye West’s statement, “death con 3 on Jewish people” as he believes they have “toyed” with him, that she responded: “The holiest day in Judaism was last week. Words matter. A threat to Jewish people ended once in a genocide. Your words hurt and incite violence. You are a father. Please stop.”

Her sentiment is well shared, shown by it being retweeted thousands of times and liked by over 22,000.

Curtis was asked about the incident on the Today Show where she said, “It was yesterday morning, I woke up to this…I woke up and burst into tears. ‘Defcon 3 on Jewish people’? What are you doing? It’s bad enough that fascism is on the rise around the world, but on Twitter, on a portal to pour that in, as if Jewish people haven’t had it hard enough…It’s abhorrent behavior. I hope he gets help. I hope his children get help from him.”

She went on, “And if we aren’t reacting, who are we? What does it say about people who aren’t reacting? Who woke up, and read that, and thought, ‘Oh, what are you having for breakfast?’”

Curtis felt a new level of drive and energy in her life after she turned 60. She lives by the mantra: “If not now, when? If not me, who?” It is a paraphrase of the words of Jewish sage Hillel the Elder, who lived in Jerusalem during the time of King Herod around the beginning of the Common Era, who wrote “If I am not for myself, who is for me? When I am for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”

In addition to her success as an actress, Curtis has a philanthropic drive, at home where she has been a supporter of children’s hospitals, sponsoring new facilities and a major supporter of the L.A. Children’s Hospital as well as fundraising for children’s hospitals in other parts of the U.S. She also took on the restoration of her grandparent’s former synagogue in Hungary, which had been abandoned since 1956, but will now serve as a community center for local celebrations and the arts.