I had the reputation of being a misogynist because of the power of one group of women who are very silent about abuses against the women in their own background. I wrote a piece for Tablet, this is a Jewish magazine, okay? They loved it. I wrote a piece — they asked me to respond to Alice Walker’s boycott of Israel. And instead, I said, “Well, first of all, Gloria Steinem and others, they’re the ones who made the reputation, so blame yourself. And secondly, I would like to see Steven Spielberg make The Color Purple about the battery of Jewish woman in the United States and abroad, in Israel, because I’ve got evidence — I’ve been to Israel three times.”1 So, I said of course there will be a problem in casting, because I’d read in Tablet that these Jewish women were criticizing Jewish producers in Hollywood for giving roles that should be given to them to gentile actresses, right?
So, I said, “If you did do a Jewish Color Purple, would Nicole Kidman play Celie or one of these blonde Rhine maidens in Woody Allen’s movies?” I mean it was a tongue and cheek thing. So, finally — they said, they’re very enthusiastic about the piece and everything, but then I got a note from the editor who said that they had to turn the piece down, because the women didn’t like it. The men liked it, but the women didn’t like it. I said, well, they — so why should they criticize men in their ethnic group, when they can jump on — make the Black males an effigy. They’re not the only ones. And then there were two Indian women, where you have terrible relations between men and women, two Indian women did a piece about The Color Purple,which I was a villain, for PBS, okay, recently.
And it was one of these — where you had this suffering Black woman sieged by these Black male brutes, and they pointed to the fact that Black people were Philistines for not liking The Color Purple, that movie. She didn’t like it either, they left that out, she didn’t like it either, they left that out. I said, “With all of the problems that women in India have — and I read Bharati Mukherjee, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, where — these guys are really troubling women. I said why do they have time to jump on these guys?” So, they’re not the only ones.
So, that’s the problem we’ve had with this whole feminist thing, and Bell Hooks said that they would single us out. I mean Bell Hooks said that in one of her books, that they would — they love Philip Roth. As a matter of fact — was it Claudia Pierpont? She played it down as a — this is the guy that said F the feminists. He said being called a misogynist is like being called a communist in the old days. But she got up at the YMHA and praised him, and a lot of these women praise him. This old guy wrote a book that advocated lesbian therapy. I mean I guess he stopped writing because of stuff like that. He said that — he wrote a novel where he said “If you want to convert a lesbian, give her a good sexual experience, and then not only will she convert, she will bring her friends.”