From the annals of Weird Hollywood comes the unmasking of a leading Hollywood Republican I’ve never heard of named David Stein. The news is that it turns out he’s actually David Cole, a Jewish Holocaust denier (above) who fell off the right-wing map in the 1990s.
You don’t often get to say “Jewish Holocaust denier,” so let’s take a moment.
According to media reports, especially a lengthy, breathless piece in The Guardian, David Stein has been a fixture in right-wing Hollywood circles in recent years, bringing together “right-wing congressmen, celebrities, writers and entertainment industry figures …for shindigs, closed to outsiders, where they could scorn liberals and proclaim their true beliefs.”
The article says he headed a far-right group called Republican Party Animals, whose creed is to be the “drinking, smoking, gambling, cussing, and (blanking) wing of the GOP.” His role in that group is in dispute, and that group’s role in Hollywood is something I’m not aware of.
I reached out to a couple of Hollywood Republicans this morning. They hadn’t heard of him. RPA has a grand total of 306 Likes on Facebook and David Stein a grand 213 Twitter followers.
But I did find a Facebook invitation to an RPA summer bash off Hollywood Boulevard with a secret guest list that according to the Guardian included: “Larry Elder, a syndicated radio host; Bill Whittle, a commentator and screenwriter; Stephen Kruiser, a comedian; Lloyd Lee Barnett, a visual effects artist for Avatar; Nick Searcy, an actor; and William Sachs, a director. Other Hollywood guests kept their attendance at such events discreet, to avoid the conservative label.”
Anyway, that’s not really the point. The point is “David Stein” – after being questioned by his friends in recent weeks – has now admitted that in fact he is a guy called David Cole, who was briefly a darling of right-wing media in the 1990s for having been a proud Holocaust denier.
He told The Guardian in recent days: “For 15 years I have been David Stein. Now the genie is out of the bottle. I'm done. I'm finished. I'm not going to try to remain as David Stein.”
His self-unmasking has sent out ripples of embarrassment on the fringes of the right-wing Hollywood-political-west coast community.
Eric Golub, writing in The Washington Times, says Stein has smeared the good name of RPA: “The media now has another baseball bat with which to beat conservatives over the head,” he writes. “They presume that anything negative said about conservatives is true and silence is taken as acquiescence.”
He says Stein was kicked off the board of RPA over “financial wrongdoing.”
And he says RPA should not be tarred with the brush of Jewish anti-Semitism. In fact, the opposite is the case.
“David Stein fooled everybody. In all the time he attended RPA functions, he never once spoke about anything other than Republican politics and getting drunk. There was no way any of us could have known that this Jewish guy with the nasally voice was a complete liar and a fraud.
“If anything, this entire ugly episode shows that these Republicans stand up for what is right. We stood on principle. When conservatives see bad behavior, we condemn it.”
So now that we know the backstory, why did Cole become Stein? He said he'd had threats from the Jewish Defense League and, frightened, recanted his views on denying the Holocaust. His credibility with among the Denial community shredded, he decided to start over under the name of Stein. And he started making documentaries for universities and schools since, he says, this was his area of expertise. (None are listed under IMDb and I sincerely hope this is not the case.) If commenters know of any, please enlighten us.)
But fear not, Cole says his Holocaust views remain intact. He tells the Guardian:
"The best guess is yes, there were gas chambers" he says. "But there is still a lot of murkiness about the camps. I haven't changed my views. But I regret I didn't have the facility with language that I have now. I was just a kid."
Here is a video of Cole denying the Holocaust in 1994: