American actress and social activist Susan Sarandon, 65, was reported to have called Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi during a public discussion with actor Bob Balaban on Saturday October 15 at the Hamptons International Film Festival in New York. This comment provokes high criticism from both Catholic and Jewish groups.
The comment came as Sarandon described sending a copy of the book "Dead Man Walking" to the Pope in 1995 after starring in the movie based on it. In the film, Sarandon played a nun who comforts a death row inmate in the film directed by her then-husband, Tim Robbins. She added she had sent the book to Pope John Paul II, not Pope Benedict XVI. "The last [pope]," she said. "Not this Nazi we have now." Newsday said Balaban gently chided Sarandon for the remark but she repeated it.
Sarandon, who was raised in New York as a Roman Catholic, is known for her support of causes ranging from hunger and AIDS to opposing the U.S.-led war in Iraq. The "Thelma and Louise" star was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1999.
|Susan Sarandon with UNICEF|