THE wife of Australian comedian and radio personality Merrick Watts has come under fire after claiming on social media last week that a luxury car that had gone up in flames in the Westfield Bondi Junction carpark was a case of “Jewish stocktake”.
Georgie Watts, whose maiden name is Sulzberger, posted a photo on Instagram of the burnt out Aston Martin with the caption, “I thought I was having a sucky day … There’s always someone who’s having a suckier day. (Though the insurance payout on this would be alright?) #jewishstocktake”
The hashtag – an antisemitic slur which implies the fire was deliberately lit to claim insurance – sparked anger on social media with users describing it as “appalling”, “disgusting” and “highly offensive”. The photo was posted on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Following the incident, Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich contacted Merrick Watts’ agent with an offer to talk to his wife. A day later, he received an apology via email.
Stating, “[I am] currently so ashamed and overwhelmed by it all that I just can’t bring myself to talk,” she said, “I have had a very constructive dialogue since my post with a rabbi who contacted me directly for which I am grateful. His wisdom and compassion have been greatly appreciated.
“I hope you understand the true contrition I feel as a result of a stupid and insensitive comment made without consideration to the Jewish community and their history. I assure you there was no malice.
“Please accept my most sincere apology.”
Abramovich told The AJN this week he welcomed Georgie Watts’ “acknowledgement that her post was completely inappropriate and for taking full responsibility for her offensive conduct”.
“We take her at her word that she did not have any ill-intent and unreservedly accept her heartfelt apology. We hope that her recognition of the pain she has caused will serve as a teachable moment that using any antisemitic slurs, under any circumstance, is never acceptable,” Abramovich said.
He added, “We also hope that she will make good on her commitment to learn from this experience and use her platform to stand up and speak out against hatred and bigotry, particularly antisemitism.”
The AJN attempted to contact Georgie Watts but she did not respond.