Game Show Host Chuck Woolery Accused of Anti-Semitism After Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin Comments on Twitter

Chuck Woolery, game show host and political commentator
Chuck Woolery, game show host and political commentator. Kevin Winter/AFP/Getty

Chuck Woolery, the well-coiffed former Wheel of Fortune and Love Connection host, has recently complained that his right-wing views have prevented him from finding work in Hollywood. His foray, via Twitter, into the complex relationship between the European Jewish diaspora, German philosophy and the rise of socialism in 20th century Russia is unlikely to have Burbank's best producers rushing to their phones.

Woolery is no neophyte to the profitable business of attacking and riling liberals and Democrats, often with lines that could have been borrowed from Rush Limbaugh. For example, when telling FOXBusiness earlier in May that his politics stopped him getting work, he added his observation the “left is really operating on all German ideas instead of American ideas.” While this could be a reference to the moral philosophy of Enlightenment-era Immanuel Kant, it far more likely an allusion to Adolf Hitler.  

Woolery has also made known his suspicion of Islam, tweeting last week in response to the suicide bombing in Manchester, England:

While he may no longer be a television mainstay, Woolery is the host of a short podcast, Blunt Force Truth, in which he uses his once-ubiquitous baritone to harangue the right’s favorite targets: “liberal nitwits,” “socialist” Europe and the Arab World. One recent segment, for example, involved a tortured joke about liberals and “rectal cranial infusion,” whatever that is. The New York Times, in a measured assessment, called him “a firebrand who takes particular delight in fricasseeing liberal celebrities.”

It is unclear why Woolery chose Memorial Day to expound on his theories about Judaism and socialism. Those theories, such as they are, are neither new nor correct. Karl Marx, the principal author of The Communist Manifesto, was Jewish, but his forebears’ religion played no known role in the formation of his world-changing theories of history, social organization and the interactions between capital and labor.

In 1942, the historian Solomon F. Bloom wrote that “Antisemitic enemies of Marxism have naturally made the most of the Jewish origin and ancestry of its principal leader in order to confound at one blow both Judaism and socialism.” It looks as if Woolery borrowed from this very playbook.

As for Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, his own Jewish background is even more tenuous. While he did have Jewish roots, these were distant and not at all known by his Bolshevik compatriots or his Soviet subjects.

But in broadly blaming Jews for the debacle that was Soviet Communism, Woolery has an unlikely ally: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel Prize-winning author of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the famous 1962 chronicle of the gulags. In 2003, Solzhenitsyn—an ethnic Russian who tended toward Slavophilia—published Two Hundred Years Together. The opaque title was “a reference to the 1772 partial annexation of Poland and Russia which greatly increased the Russian Jewish population,” as The Guardian explained. The book caused a furor for seeming blaming some of the worst depredations of Soviet rule on Jews while downplaying the abuses Jews faced, especially under Stalin.

In defending the book, Solzhenitsyn said, “I have never made general conclusions about a people. I will always differentiate between layers of Jews. One layer rushed headfirst to the revolution. Another, to the contrary, was trying to stand back.”

A review of Solzhenitsyn's book on the website of white nationalist David Duke praises the author, a “grand old man,” for revealing “the awe-inspiring extent of the Jewish domination of the Soviet Union during its first two decades of existence.”

Reactions to Woolery’s tweet were, for the most part, critical: 

Woolery tried to explain himself later in the afternoon:

Woolery might be heartened to know that he has support on Gab, a social network that has recently gained favor with the extreme right. One user called him “Chuck ‘No More Jewish Tomfoolery’ Woolery," while another suggested the Holocaust was a hoax.

Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 11 A screenshot from the social network Gab. Gab

How this will affect Woolery's triumphant return to Hollywood is unknown.