There are Soup Nazis and then there are “neo-Nazis” whose faces just happen to resemble a bowl of clam chowder, and the beloved 90s sitcom Seinfeld had ties to them both.
Much like the fetid cheese ball to which he has recently pledged fealty, former executive chair of Breitbart News Steve Bannon has amassed various financial investments in the entertainment industry (Andrew Beitbart once tenderly referred to him as the Tea Party’s Leni Riefenstahl”). One such investment was his early bankrolling of Seinfeld, on which he reportedly still collects royalties.
Bannon is really good at the ruthless acquisition of money and influence, but TV writers have their own special power: detecting irony (ruthlessly). Peter Mehlman, a writer and producer on Seinfeld, told The Guardian on Friday that he’s infuriated that Bannon, whom he refers to as a “raging antisemite” has made, “all this money off a show that’s associated with Jewish humor—that’s pretty galling.”
Bannon has denied being an antisemite, but certainly the media organization he ran before taking over as Donald Trump’s campaign manager in August (he has since been selected as Trump’s chief strategist) is pretty antisemitic. As The Guardian helpfully reminds us, Breitbart once ran a headline calling conservative commentator Bill Kristol a “renegade Jew.” Bannon’s ex-wife famously testified in a 2007 court filing that Bannon didn’t want their children to go to school with Jews.
Mehlman told The Guardian that Bannon’s choice in 1993 to acquire a share of Seinfeld’s royalties as part of the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment to Turner Broadcasting System was a, “smart decision,” that, “made [him] a ton of money,” however, “It doesn’t make him any less miserable as a human being.”