The dumb lawsuit filed by Michigan resident Sarah Deming against the distributors of Drive because it wasn't Vin Diesel-y enough also claimed that the film was anti-Semitic. Specifically, the suit stated that Drive contained "extreme gratuitous defamatory dehumanizing racism directed against members of the Jewish faith, and thereby promoted criminal violence against members of the Jewish faith." If that assertion leaves you scratching your skullcaps, you aren't alone. Luckily, the legal mastermind behind the suit has been quite vocal about what he meant by that language — in the comments section of a movie blog.
I challenge you to defend your shameful, vapid accusation that the film is not anti-Semitic. I am the lawyer for the Plaintiff. I'm offended as a film lover, as an American and as a Jew that you would take such an indefensible, thoughtless position.
Three hours later, Leaf posted a much longer and more colorful comment.
The lawsuit claims the trailer was misleading in two ways: It wasn't a race action or drive action film, but was a racist film.
Your immature pride in Jewish criminals is an obscenity. But even in the genre of gangster movies, these Jews are portrayed in an unequivocal racist way. Compare that with Bugsey [sic] Siegel, a criminal, who was portrayed as a sympathetic, human, empathetic character. He was a good father, a visionary, and was loyal. Same thing with Mickey Cohen, and Meyer Lansky: All real characters. Not so with the cartoon one dimensional Jews in Drive, right down to the gold pinkey [sic] rings, gold watch, and thick gold chains, that only a "senior citizen Jew stereotype" department could have come up with.
Ryan Gosling played two Jews before: In all good things [sic] as a Jewish murderer, and in The Believer: Neither was Jew hating as I recall.
True, there were no unflattering depictions of Jews in The Believer, except the part where Gosling is a neo-Nazi for the entire movie who spits on torahs and plants bombs in synagogues. But his shirt was never unbuttoned, he wore no 14-karat chai pendants, and he never once complained about the temperature of a bowl of soup. Be more like The Believer, Drive! [The Candler Blog, Image via FilmDistrict]