Arts & Culture

Natalie Portman Gets Hasidic Actor in Trouble

Remember those pictures last week of Natalie Portman and an unnamed cute actor, both dressed in full-on Hasid-wear? It turns out the guy, Abe Karpen, is actually Hasidic, and the Williamsburg community isn’t happy about his participation in the movie. … Read More

By / March 17, 2008

Remember those pictures last week of Natalie Portman and an unnamed cute actor, both dressed in full-on Hasid-wear? It turns out the guy, Abe Karpen, is actually Hasidic, and the Williamsburg community isn’t happy about his participation in the movie.

Karpen, 25, was co-starring with Portman in a segment of the film New York I Love You, a sequel to Paris Je T’Aime, but he dropped out after objections from his friends and neighbors. He told The New York Daily News: "I have my kids in religious schools and the rabbi called me over yesterday and said in order for me to keep my kids in the school I have to do what they tell me and back out.”

You wonder how much the gossip blogs had to do with this decision. The film’s executive producer says Karpen was “a great ambassador of his faith,” but his faith (at least his section of the faith) doesn’t particularly want to be represented in Hollywood at all—especially not by a guy who looks like Ryan Gosling. Closed communities have no worse enemy than the Internet — as we learned from Ken Mondschein's revealing take on Orthodox online hookups –so when those pictures surfaced online last week, the community can’t have been happy.

And comments like this one (which is inaccurate, by the way, since Karpen’s not a Chabadnik) from Jezebel probably didn’t help:

Is it wrong that I'm a shiksa who has fantasies about the Hasids? I keep running into these Chabad guys out at Williamsburg bars and they make me weak in the knees…