“It makes my blood boil.”
The pair signed an open letter along with dozens of other Spanish film stars, directors, and writers; describing in the letter that actions being taken against Palestinians was "genocide."
The letter demanded a ceasefire by the military and urged Israel to lift the blockade in the Gaza Strip.
The letter said: “Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air. Palestinians’ homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing.”
Now, Hollywood executives such as Relativity Media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is being reported as one of a number of people to be firing back against the couple for their pro-Palestinian stance.
“It makes my blood boil,” Kavanaugh told The Hollywood Reporter a week later. “As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, anyone calling it Israeli ‘genocide’ vs protecting themselves are either the most ignorant people about the situation and shouldn’t be commenting, or are truly anti-Semitic.”
“I’m extremely disappointed in Hollywood for its silence in the face of this letter… They don’t get it,” he added.
Earlier in August, actor Jon Voight wrote a letter in response to Cruz and Bardem, emphasizing the pair should “hang your heads in shame” as well as “come forth with deep regrets for what you did, and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel”.
“My name is Jon Voight and I am more than angry, I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused,” he wrote.
“You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America. Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera? You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good. Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.”
Cruz and Bardem later clarified their positions. She said: "I'm not an expert on the situation and I'm aware of the complexity of it."
And she said her "only wish and intention" in signing the letter was that there would be peace in Israel and Gaza.
Bardem said: "My signature was solely meant as a plea for peace. Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction.
"While I was critical of the Israeli military response, I have great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses.
"I am now being labelled by some as anti-Semitic, as is my wife - which is the antithesis of who we are as human beings.
"We detest anti-Semitism as much as we detest the horrible and painful consequences of war."
Reports have circulated that the couple could be "blacklisted" from certain roles or face backlash against markets across the globe. Some experts have pointed out that the pair has more marketability for companies to make money off them than a "blacklisting" would benefit them as a whole.