NBC is under fire, Wednesday, for an episode of the medical drama, “Nurses,” which included “an offensive portrayal of an Orthodox Jew” that social media users quickly branded “anti-Semitic,” according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“The objectionable storyline occurred on an episode of ‘Nurses,’ a Canadian hour-long drama following a group of nurses in a Toronto hospital. In the episode, a young Hasidic patient is told he will need a bone graft to heal his broken leg, leading his devout father to recoil at the possibility of a ‘dead goyim leg from anyone. An Arab, a woman,'” the outlet explained.
The episode is actually a string of bizarre depictions of Orthodox Jewish individuals. The son, who is suffering from a broken leg, skipped shul to play basketball — an activity he, the show says, is forbidden from. And after it is explained he will need a bone graft, one of the main character nurses (who is an admitted atheist) attempts to quote scripture to the pair — who will not speak to her because, being religious zealots, they do not speak to women — and then claims to be a messenger of God warning the pair to acquiesce to medical treatment.
The nurse eventually loses the argument, the pair choose prayer over medicine, and the boy is escorted out of the hospital, while in the voiceover, the nurse says, “What do we do when we can’t save someone? Faced with a battle that can’t be won?”
The interaction shocked viewers — particularly Jewish viewers — prompting an outcry on social media.
“Twice in one week, @NBC? First we heard Michael Che’s antisemitic falsehood on @NBCSNL. Now ‘Nurses’ employs this disgusting depiction of Orthodox Jews. Continuous, negative portrayal of Jews invites antisemitism to flourish,” the American Jewish Committee tweeted, referring to a Weekend Update segment from last Saturday when Michael Che implied that Israel was only administering the COVID-19 vaccine to Jewish residents.
“I think this is the most antisemitic thing I have ever seen in a TV show,” commentator Seffi Kogen added.
I think this is the most antisemitic thing I have ever seen in a TV show pic.twitter.com/oS1hPFIjcj
— Seffi Kogen (@seffikogen) February 24, 2021
Even Bari Weiss weighed in, calling the episode and its portrayal of a Jewish family “absolutely disgusting.”
“This warrants an apology and an explanation from @nbc,” added writer Bethany Mandel.
One commentator, who blogs about Orthodox Jewish life, explained why the episode was so insulting to those of the Jewish faith.
“The idea that such a surgery would be problematic in general or problematic because of where the bone came from not only is categorically false according to Jewish law, it is a vicious lie that endangers men who walk around with curled sidelocks and black hats,” she said.
“For those of you unfamiliar with Jewish law, which puts precedent on healing and saving lives, there is no prohibition on the kind of bone graft in this clip. The writers made it up, dressed their actors in Jew-face, and put random extremist nonsense in their mouths,” another commentator, Liza Rosen, added.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) demanded that NBC pull the episode and “review their standards for approving dramatic content so that this doesn’t happen in the future.”