Actress Cheryl Hines distanced herself from her husband Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Anne Frank comment on Tuesday, calling the remarks “reprehensible and insensitive” in a statement posted to her Twitter account.
A day earlier, at a rally for his anti-vaccine nonprofit organization Children’s Health Defense, Kennedy had compared opposition to Covid-19 vaccine mandates to the experience of Jewish victims of the Nazi German regime.
“Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could — you could cross the Alps to Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did,” he said.
The comparison drew outrage across the political spectrum and was quickly condemned on Sunday and Monday by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Anti-Defamation League, among others, as ahistorical, offensive and self-serving.
Cheryl Hines Slams Anne Frank Comment
By early Tuesday morning, Cheryl Hines decided to wade into her husband’s controversy. In a statement posted to Twitter, the actress joined the chorus of critics to unequivocally condemn Kennedy’s comments.
My husband’s reference to Anne Frank at a mandate rally in D.C. was reprehensible and insensitive,” the Curb Your Enthusiasm alum wrote.
“The atrocities that millions endured during the Holocaust should never be compared to anyone or anything,” Hines continued. “His opinions are not a reflection of my own.”
Only a few minutes before his wife’s statement went public, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. went back on his remarks from the Sunday rally.
“I apologize for my reference to Anne Frank, especially to families that suffered the Holocaust horrors,” the political scion wrote on Twitter.
“My intention was to use examples of past barbarism to show the perils from new technologies of control,” RFK Jr. continued. “To the extent my remarks caused hurt, I am truly and deeply sorry.”
RFK Jr. Comments Widely Condemned
The apology was too little, too late for Holocaust remembrance groups and antisemitism watchdog orgs, who had spent the last 48 hours slamming Kennedy as an ignorant sensationalist.
“Making reckless comparisons to the Holocaust, the murder of six million Jews, for a political agenda is outrageous and deeply offensive,” wrote the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in a statement posted to Twitter early Monday morning.
“Those who carelessly invoke Anne Frank, the star badge, and the Nuremberg Trials exploit history and the consequences of hate,” the museum continued.
“For survivors, the Holocaust is not ‘history.’ These are not abstract tragedies to exploit to prove a point. They carry the painful memories of the brutal murder of a baby boy, the rape of a sister, the parents arrested and never seen again,” they added.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said that the leveraging of Holocaust rhetoric by opponents of Covid-19 vaccinations “must stop.”
“[Robert F. Kennedy Jr.] invoking Anne Frank’s memory and the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis as a comparison to the U.S. gov’t working to ensure the health of its citizens is deeply inaccurate, deeply offensive and deeply troubling,” Greenblatt wrote on Monday.
It’s not the first taste of public controversy for Kennedy. The son of one-time presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, RFK Jr. is best known for his anti-vaccine advocacy, which predates the Covid pandemic by decades.
Through his Children’s Health Defense organization, founded in 2016, Kennedy has spread the falsehood that vaccines cause autism, and has claimed that the U.S. government and media are engaged in a conspiracy to silence his views.
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