Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon is coming under increasing pressure to apologise for remarks she made about Pope Benedict being a "Nazi". The 65-year-old is reported to have made the comments during a public discussion at the New York Film Festival, immediately provoking criticism from Catholic and Jewish groups.
The actress was discussing her Oscar-winning performance in the 1995 movie 'Dead Man Walking', in which she played a Catholic nun. According to the New York newspaper, Newsday, she recalled sending a copy of the book the movie was based on to Pope John Paul Iii, before adding, "The last one. Not this Nazi one we have now". The interview was being conducted by fellow actor Bob Balaban, who "gently chided" the remark, before the actress repeated it for a second time. Although Pope Ratzinger was briefly a member of the Hitler Youth, when membership was compulsory, he deserted the military during World War II and claimed his parents deserted the Nazi ideology. Sarandon's remarks have been denounced by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, who labelled them "obscene", while the Anti-Defamation League called on the actress to apologise. In a statement, the Adl said, "Such words are hateful, vindictive and only serve to diminish the true history and meaning of the Holocaust".
Sarandon has no less than eight movie projects in the works, including a role opposite Tom Hanks in the big-screen adaptation of David Mitchell's best-selling novel 'Cloud Atlas'.