‘Scandal’s’ scandalous stereotyping

I am writing this not only as a rabbi and cantor, but as an outraged citizen, an outraged human being, and a Jew.

I have been watching “Scandal” since its inception, and I am a huge fan but now I am infuriated. I believe that the talent that graces the set of “Scandal” is incredible, and I always found the storyline engaging. It’s always made me yearn for the next episode.

Truth be told, I still do yearn for the next episode, but I will not allow what I saw on its latest episode — season 5, episode 16, “The Miseducation of Susan Ross” — to pass with no repercussions for the writer, the director, the executive producers, and ABC Studios.

In this episode, neither Quinn (Katie Lowes) nor Huck (Guillermo Diaz) can deal with the fact that Olivia (Kerry Washington) is going to cross some very serious boundaries. Quinn decides to ask their friend, ex co-worker Abby (Darby Stanchfield), for advice.

At one point in the conversation Quinn, visibly upset as she talks about Olivia, says: “…replacing a white hat for a black skullcap…”

I paused the DVR, not believing what I heard, rewound the scene, and listened again.

My wife and I sat there in disbelief.

A “black skullcap” can only refer to one thing. That is a Jew — and in this case it’s someone who is conniving, deceitful, backstabbing; someone who would do anything to get results. It is absolutely an anti-Semitic, vilifying comment, the likes of which Shakespeare used in “Merchant of Venice.” It is the kind of stereotyped caricatures the Nazis used during the Second World War.

In this day and age, where diversity is the biggest topic of discussion in the world of entertainment and in the world at large, where people of all different races, creeds, nationalities, and religions are trying to live peacefully, side by side, at least in the Western world, how does ABC Entertainment allow this disgraceful, disparaging remark about Jews to be used on one of the finest shows on television?

Of course I looked up the name of the writer, and what a surprise. It’s Raamla Mohamed. She chose “Scandal” to air her personal attack on the Jewish people.

She doesn’t deserve to work in a business that promotes harmony and tries to put an end to divisiveness.

How could that line ever get past the director, Scott Foley, or the script supervisors, or anyone from Shondaland? It is hard to believe that they are all so insensitive to such a glaringly anti-Semitic comment.

It is my sincere hope that you take this letter to heart and let the producers of “Scandal” know how you feel. Hopefully the show — like all of Shonda Rhimes’s shows — will continue with great success, but without Raamla Mohammed’s pen.

Cantor Lenny Mandel
Congregation B’nai Israel, Emerson

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