Michael Douglas is opening up about his experiences with anti-Semitism on a family holiday.
The Wall Street star was on vacation in Italy with his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and their kids last year, when his 14-year-old son Dylan came to him in tears after a man “hurled insults” at the youngster over his Jewish background, Douglas explained in a candid newspaper column.
Douglas, whose actor father Kirk is Jewish, admits he was disgusted and has now vented his anger over the incident in an article written for the Los Angeles Times.
He writes, “Last summer our family went to Southern Europe on holiday. During our stay at a hotel, our son Dylan went to the swimming pool. A short time later he came running back to the room, upset. A man at the pool had started hurling insults at him… Suddenly I had an awful realisation of what might have caused the man’s outrage: Dylan was wearing a (Jewish symbol) Star of David.
“After calming him down, I went to the pool and asked the attendants to point out the man who had yelled at him. We talked. It was not a pleasant discussion. Afterward, I sat down with my son and said: “Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism’…”
Douglas goes on to detail his own experience of anti-Semitism in high school and call on Europe’s political leaders and Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, to do more to crack down on intolerant attitudes.
He adds, “Speaking up is the responsibility of our political leaders… Speaking up is the responsibility of our religious leaders… It’s also the responsibility of regular citizens to take action… That is our challenge in 2015, and all of us must take it up… My son is strong. He is fortunate to live in a country where anti-Semitism is rare. But now he too has learned of the dangers that he as a Jew must face. It’s a lesson that I wish I didn’t have to teach him, a lesson I hope he will never have to teach his children.”