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February 25, 2021 11:43 am

Producers Behind Controversial ‘Nurses’ Episode Apologize for False Portrayal of Orthodox Jews

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

An Orthodox Jewish character in episode 8, season 1 of the NBC show “Nurses.” Photo: NBC.

Canadian producers apologized for the offensive and inaccurate portrayal of Orthodox Jews in an episode of its television medical drama “Nurses” following outcry from prominent Jewish organizations and leaders.

“Nurses” is produced by Toronto’s ICF Films, Entertainment One and Corus Entertainment.

In a statement sent to Honest Reporting Canada, which was shared on Twitter on Thursday, Entertainment One and Corus Entertainment said, “We take matters of this nature very seriously and deeply regret all inaccuracies related to religious beliefs as well as the negative portrayal of any religious community in our content, characters and storylines. We sincerely apologize to the Jewish community, our viewers and series fans, and are working to understand what transpired and ensure our research practices are exhaustive moving forward and lead only to well-informed storylines.”

Corus Entertainment “shares these concerns raised about the episode,” the statement added, “and have removed it from all digital platforms and future airings on our networks,” which include Canada’s Global Television Network.

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“Nurses,” filmed and set in Toronto, takes place in a hospital and was acquired by NBC in 2020. The controversy was sparked by episode 8 from the show’s first season, titled “Achilles Heel,” which aired in Canada last year on Global Television Network and on NBC on Feb. 9.

On Wednesday, Jewish organizations expressed outrage over the episode, in which a young Hasidic man named Israel is hospitalized for a leg injury and refuses a bone graft because it might have come from “goyim” —  a Yiddish word for non-Jews — an Arab or a woman. In a later scene, Israel explains that he will not do the bone graft because “how can I live with myself knowing I went against God, or my father. He’ll never accept me.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said that the scene was “gratuitous and inflammatory” and “validates longstanding antisemitic stereotypes,” in comments to the The Algemeiner Wednesday.

Later that day, NBC pulled the episode from its digital platforms in response to the outcry. The network has not responded to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.

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