“Shared some great laughs with Jimmy Kimmel last night,” actor Tim Allen wrote on Facebook last week, below a photo of himself and the ABC host in mid-chuckle over a joke about Kimmel’s Netflix queue.
But Allen had also shared a few thoughts on Hollywood politics during his appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Three days later, a group representing the world’s most iconic Holocaust victim was demanding he apologize to the Jewish people.
“Tim, have you lost your mind?” wrote Steven Goldstein, director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. “No one in Hollywood today is subjecting you or anyone else to what the Nazis imposed on the Jews in the 1930s.”
Allen had not, in fact, compared himself to a Holocaust victim. But he had said the U.S. entertainment industry was “like ’30s Germany” for conservatives — an audience that his sitcom “Last Man Standing” plays to.
“You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody else believes,” Allen told Kimmel, echoing comments he has made for years about the alleged bullying of non-liberals working in Hollywood.
The interview was lighthearted. Kimmel grilled Allen a bit on his attendance at President Trump’s inauguration (the actor has expressed mixed feeling about the president), then moved on to jokes about Google cars and Netflix bots.
The furor took a few days to peak.
“You are funny. Kimmel isn’t,” reads a comment on Allen’s fan page shortly after he posted about the interview.
But then another: “He works in a liberal town, he needs to get used to it.”
Soon, some of Allen’s own fans were upset about his Germany comment — with one misunderstanding it as a comparison to the president.
“Will not watch him,” she wrote. “Trump is trying to keep us safe.”
Allen’s analogy spiraled out into the wider media, where a Jezebel writer filed it under “EXTREMELY BAD COMPARISONS” and wrote:
“Whatever hardships you believe yourself to endure as a wealthy, right-leaning actor, it is, shall we say, inaccurate to liken them to those trapped in Nazi Germany.”
It was just a matter of time before the Anne Frank Center weighed in.
Dedicated to the memory of a Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis before she was found and killed, the group was once known mostly for somber history lessons and symbolic tree plantings.
But the Anne Frank Center has become much more political since Goldstein took over as director last year, promising to focus more on “contemporary issues.”
The center has repeatedly condemned White House refugee restrictions, which Goldstein wrote were “driving our nation off a moral cliff.”
Now he has weighed in on an actor who, despite his recent political statements, is best remembered as a tool-obsessed father on the 1990s sitcom “Home Improvement.”
Germans in the 1930s implemented “the world’s most evil program of dehumanization, imprisonment and mass brutality,” Goldstein wrote on the Anne Frank center’s Facebook page.
“Sorry, Tim, that’s just not the same as getting turned down for a movie role.”