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March 1, 2016 3:46 pm

Actor Rob Lowe Accuses California Tax Official of Making Antisemitic Remarks During Financial Dispute

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Rob Lowe. The actor accused a BOE member of making antisemitic remarks during a private meeting last year. Photo: Flickr.

Rob Lowe. The actor accused a BOE member of making antisemitic remarks during a private meeting last year. Photo: Flickr.

Actor Rob Lowe accused a tax official in California of making antisemitic remarks during a private meeting last year over a dispute concerning the sale of a house, The Charlotte Observer reported on Monday.

Lowe alleged in a Feb. 24 email to members of California’s Board of Equalization that BOE member Jerome Horton asked him and his wife, Jewish actress Sheryl Berkoff, if she “Jewed down” contractors who built their house in Montecito, Calif.

“Appalled, we asked him to explain his comment,” Lowe said in the email, a copy of which was acquired by The Bee. “He doubled down, saying ‘C’mon. You know what I’m saying. Did you Jew them down? You must have.’”

Lowe’s tax attorney, Mark Bernsley, and members of Horton’s staff were present when the remarks were allegedly made, according to the email.

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Bernsley sent a letter to BOE officials warning them that Lowe may sue Horton for his comments.

Lowe said that he would inform the Anti-Defamation League of Horton’s comments, while “weighing other options to combat this virulent and unapologetic antisemitism in the people of California’s Board Of Equalization.”

Horton, defending himself in an email sent to The Bee on Monday night, said, “Theirs is a misrepresentation of the facts, I am a lifetime supporter of Israel and related issues, this is only about my vote against them.”

He was referring to a BOE vote — from which he dissented — to lower the income tax Lowe owed on the 2005 sale of his home in Montecito, Calif., which sold for $25 million.

Fiona Ma, who replaced Horton last week as the BOE’s chair, said she had not attended the meeting in which Horton made the alleged remarks last summer, but “if (Horton) did that, he should apologize, for starters.”

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  • SteveHC

    1. It is FANTASTIC that Lowe decided to not let Horton’s outrageous comments “slide.”

    2. Given that there were *multiple* witnesses to Horton making the comments, the comments were NOT “allegedly” made but WERE made *period*.

    3. Regardless of whether or not Horton apologizes, given that he both repeated and apparently tried to justify his comments, he is clearly a genuine moron who should be fired or otherwise terminated from his position and consideration of a lawsuit against the BOE would seem to be in order.

  • SteveHC

    1. It is FANTASTIC that Lowe decided to not let Horton’s outrageous comments “slide.”

    2. Given that there were *multiple* witnesses to Horton making the comments, the comments were NOT “allegedly” made but WERE made *period*.

    3. Regardless of whetyer or not Horton apologizes, given that he both repeated and apparently tried to justify his comments, he is clearly a genuine moron who shoukd be fired or otherwuse terminated from his position and consideration if a lawsuit against the BOE would seem to be in order.

  • Mike P.

    There are anti-Semites who love Israel and there are also anti-Semites who hate Israel.

    Sometimes, their anti-Israelism is the most direct evidence of their anti-Semitism.

    Sometimes, their comments about Jews are the most direct evidence of their anti-Semitism.

    In the case of Jerome Horton, his anti-Semitism is demonstrated by his negative stereotyping of Jews, the use of an anti-Semitic term, using Jew as a pejorative, associating Jews with money in a negative light, repeating himself with pride and aggression, and refusing to apologize for offending a Jew with a negative stereotype.

    So, yes, Jerome Horton is an anti-Semite.

    He’s entitled to his views, even if they are wrong, however, he is not entitled to state those views during the course of government work.

  • rbockman

    This example of “low level” discriminatory language is felt by all Jews as a common coarseness of speech. As such, it could be uttered free of anti-Semitism, not unlike Lowe’s explanation of the criminal act he committed by recording his sexual acts with under age girls when he was younger.

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