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Cheryl Hines calls husband RFK Jr.'s Anne Frank comparison at anti-vax rally 'reprehensible and insensitive'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·5 min read
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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is apologizing for saying the unvaccinated have less freedom than Anne Frank did. He's faced backlash for his comments, made at an anti-vax mandate rally Sunday in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Curb Your Enthusiasm actress Cheryl Hines, distancing herself from his remarks.

"I apologize for my reference to Anne Frank, especially to families that suffered the Holocaust horrors," the environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine activist wrote on Twitter Tuesday. "My intention was to use examples of past barbarism to show the perils from new technologies of control. To the extent my remarks caused hurt, I am truly and deeply sorry."

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 21: Cheryl Hines (L) and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attend Keep It Clean Live Comedy To Benefit Waterkeeper Alliance on February 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Waterkeeper Alliance)
Cheryl Hines says husband Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s "opinions are not a reflection of my own" after he makes an Anne Frank comparison at an anti-vaccine rally and then apologizes. (Photo: Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Waterkeeper Alliance)

Minutes later, Hines posted her own statement on Twitter calling his rally remark "reprehensible and insensitive. The atrocities that millions endured during the Holocaust should never be compared to anyone or anything. His opinions are not a reflection of my own."

There has been widespread criticism after Kennedy — the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy — invoked Frank, who died in a Nazi concentration camp at age 15, during his speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

"Even in Hitler's Germany, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland, you can hide in the attic like Anne Frank did," Kennedy told the crowd. "Today the mechanisms are being put in place that will make it so none of us can run, none of us can hide."

The comparison was widely condemned, including by the Auschwitz Memorial's official social media page. It said, "Exploiting of the tragedy of people who suffered, were humiliated, tortured & murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany — including children like Anne Frank — in a debate about vaccines & limitations during global pandemic is a sad symptom of moral & intellectual decay." The Anti-Defamation League and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum also criticized his comments.

That criticism led Kennedy, who has long spread misinformation about vaccines, to try to clarify his comments, though not apologize, on Monday.

"I referred to Anne Frank's terrible two-year ordeal only by way of showing that modern surveillance capacity would make her courageous feat virtually impossible today," he said in a statement to the Associated Press, in part, adding that he "compared no one to the Nazis or Adolf Hitler."

Hines, his third wife, whom he married in 2014, found herself pulled into it by those asking if she stood with her husband's remarks.

"My husbands opinions are not a reflection of my own," she initially wrote. "While we love each other, we differ on many current issues."

Pressed on her vague comment — buried in a reply to a tweet, not a statement of her own — Hines then agreed with someone who said she should have said it was wrong for her husband to make the compare to the horrors of the Holocaust. That prompted Hines to reply, "Yes, I agree with you."

After Kennedy's apology on Tuesday, Hines issued her official statement, making it clear where she stands.

Hines plays the wife of Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm, a show known for its Jewish representation.

Kennedy previously apologized in 2015 after using the word "holocaust" when talking about children he claimed had been hurt by vaccines. He wrote it off as word misuse "during an impromptu speech."

Kennedy's anti-vaccine campaign has caused turmoil within the famous Kennedy family. For several years now, and pre-COVID pandemic, family members have publicly called him out for being "tragically wrong about vaccines."

In December, attendees of a holiday party at Kennedy Jr. and Hines's home were told they should either be tested for COVID-19 or vaccinated to attend, which made headlines due to his anti-vax stance. He ended up blaming Hines, saying the party was for her entertainment industry friends and he had no knowledge of what the invitation said. "I guess I'm not always the boss at my own house," he said.