A crossword puzzle published by the AJC and several other papers has sparked controversy because it includes an offensive term for Jewish people.
“Shylock, e.g.” was the hint for 32-down in last Friday’s crossword puzzle. “Shylock” is a derogatory term for Jewish people; the word comes from the name of a Jewish moneylender in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.”
The answer to 32-down was “Jew,” prompting outrage among many puzzle-solvers.
“If they put ‘African American’ as a clue, they wouldn’t put ‘Uncle Tom’ as the answer,” said one reader to Atlanta’s WXIA-TV. “It’s just as inflammatory as what Paula Deen Said.”
The Anti-Defamation League complained to Tribune Media Services, the puzzle’s syndicator, and asked for an apology. The company responded with a statement that included the following:
“The puzzle should not have been distributed with that clue, and we apologize for the offense it caused. The issue has been discussed with the creators and editors involved, and the clue will not be used again in a Tribune Media Services crossword.”
The company also stressed its sensitivity “to racial or cultural references in the content we distribute.”
The apology was published in the newspapers that ran the puzzle.