Israel Film Festival (IFF) in Los Angeles has issued a statement in response to an incident that occurred during Jason Blum’s speech at the opening of the event on November 6 in which it says it “did not in any way remove Jason Blum from the stage”.
Blum, the founder of Blumhouse Productions, was giving a speech to accept the festival’s achievement in film and TV Award. According to multiple reports, his remarks were booed from the beginning when he talked about the incoming US election results and his dislike of US president Donald Trump.
An audience member, identified by many sources as Israeli pawnbroker Yossi Dina, reportedly confronted Blum and tried to remove him from the stage.
Blum, who is Jewish-American, remarked on stage he was “being physically removed” and later commented on Twitter he “was not allowed to finish the speech” he was trying to give.
The IFF statement says Blum was not removed by the festival but was ushered off stage by Festival security to protect him.
”To be clear, the Festival did not in any way remove Jason Blum from the stage,” read the statement. ”To protect him when an audience member in no way associated with the Festival charged the podium, the Festival security ushered Blum off the stage.”
The statement also included a message from IFF director and founder Meir Fenigstein: ”We in no way condone violence but do wholeheartedly support dialogue that allows people to share ideas and viewpoints in a respectful way. Sadly, some audience members at last night’s opening greatly lacked that respect and turned an evening of celebrationg and recognition into something else.”
Blum posted the full transcript of his intended speech on Twitter that evening. It included the below tweet, which criticises President Trump and highlights the rise of anti-Semitism in the US:
We have seen the end of civil discourse. We have a President who calls the Press the enemy of the people. Nationalism is surging. Dog whistle politics are rampant and anti-Semitism is on the rise in ways my generation never thought imaginable.— Jason Blum (@jason_blum) November 7, 2018
Blum founded Blumhouse Productions in 2000 and has produced a succession of low-budget horror films through the company, including Insidious, Paranormal Activity, The Gift and 2018’s Get Out, which received four Oscar nominations last year.