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Real or Fake? Bradley Cooper Accused of ‘Jewface’

By Orgesta Tolaj


27 August 2023

bradley cooper jewface accusations

© Netflix & bradleycooperofficial / Instagram

Is this movie being canceled before release? Netflix’s release of the trailer for Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro”, a biographical romance depicting Leonard Bernstein and his wife Felicia Montealegre, is facing immediate backlash.

The movie trailer has garnered criticism from some viewers regarding Cooper’s use of a large prosthetic nose. This was seen by some as an example of Hollywood’s stereotypical and inauthentic portrayal of Jewish people, often referred to as “Jewface.”

The Issue at Hand

In 2021, Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman criticized the “long tradition of non-Jews playing Jews” on her podcast. However, she later joined Bradley Cooper’s production of the film, where she played Bernstein’s sister, Shirley.

bradley cooper maestro movie
© Netflix

When images of Cooper’s prosthetic nose for the role surfaced in 2022, some media outlets criticized it, while others argued that Cooper, like Bernstein, is not gay, a classical composer, or an alcoholic singer-songwriter in love with Lady Gaga.

Despite the controversy, Bernstein’s children defended Cooper’s approach on Instagram. They expressed their deep appreciation for his commitment to portraying their father and embracing his music. They also clarified that they were perfectly fine with Cooper using makeup to enhance his resemblance to Leonard Bernstein.

The Bernstein Family Reacts

Despite concerns about the prosthetic nose in “Maestro”, Leonard Bernstein’s children praised Bradley Cooper for his commitment to portraying their father and his love for Bernstein’s music throughout the filmmaking process. The Bernsteins were deeply moved by Cooper’s dedication, his genuine embrace of their father’s music, and the enthusiasm he brought to his creative process.

The family stated:

“It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts. It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose. Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that. We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well. Any strident complaints around this issue strike us above all as disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch — a practice we observed all too often perpetrated on our own father.

They added:

“At all times during the making of this film, we could feel the profound respect and yes, the love that Bradley brought to his portrait of Leonard Bernstein and his wife, our mother Felicia. We feel so fortunate to have had this experience with Bradley, and we can’t wait for the world to see his creation.

While it is important to have the right people represent their own kind and culture, it is crucial to consider that the family had no issue with Bradley Cooper portraying Bernstein with a prosthetic nose. But, what do you think, should Cooper have ditched the nose entirely, or does it add value to the movie?

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!