A Jewish bride and antisemitic wedding video
A blurred screenshot from the wedding video
When fashion executive Claudia Gocman organised her big day, she planned everything in minute detail.
She chose a prestigious central London venue, wore a beautiful white dress and even had a singer as well as a DJ to entertain her 150 guests at the black-tie reception.
The icing on the cake was going to be the video the couple had commissioned to be waiting for them when they returned from their honeymoon in South Africa and Mauritius.
But instead they were forced to wait NINE months for it to arrive — and when it finally did, it was the wrong one.
Frustrated, she then had a series of email exchanges with videographer Anthony Aurelius before the correct one eventually arrived at her home in Edgware, north London.
She and her husband Stan, 28, then finally settled down to watch it on TV only to find the quality was poor, key moments were missing and she saw more of guests’ backs than faces.
Claudia, 27, a buyer for Ralph Lauren, complained once again and insisted she was sent the original film reel so she could have it edited herself. She even paid extra for it.
Again, she and her husband settled down to watch it and were even more horrified this time.
The soundtrack was littered with derogatory comments about her and her Jewish guests.
At one point on the unedited reel, after guests were dancing to Siman Tov UMazel Tov, Mr Aurelius was heard to say: “Mental, Israeli dancing, isn’t it? There’s a real feeling of like, they’re better than everybody else. Jewish.”
"I don’t think I blame Hitler for Holocaust"
His assistant said: “That’s why Holocaust.”
Mr Aurelius replied: “I don’t think I blame Hitler,” as he filmed the bride from only a few feet away.
Earlier, Mr Aurelius had accidentally left the camera running in the back seat of his car as he followed the wedding party from the Central Synagogue to the hotel, 8 Northumberland Avenue.
The lens captured buildings and streetlamps as they made their way through the capital.
But the microphone picked up the conversation between him and his assistant, who said it was his first Jewish ceremony.
Mr Aurelius told his assistant that Jews think “they’re better than everybody else because they’re from Israel.
“Not a lot of niceness about them is there? Very little warmth.” He went on: “They’ve never been respected anyway, these people, and they’ve never respected themselves.”
"Jewish women are beautiful, but cows"
His assistant said: “They are the meanest people in the world, I know very well.”
Mr Aurelius said he was distracted by female guests whilst filming the chuppah.
“Some of the Jewish women are very beautiful to look at, but I can tell you, they’d be right f***ing cows. Very f***ing snooty, they’d be a pain in the arse.
“Not a very attractive bride at all.”
Claudia and Stan on their big day (Photo: Reportage)
He was more gracious when it came to Rabbi Alan Plancey: “The rabbi’s alright, he’s quite a nice guy. I’ve seen him before — no ego.”
Mrs Gocman, a former JFS student, said: “It’s completely antisemitic and ignorant. Even the assistant, who is Asian, was racist. I just don’t understand it.
“At first, I was really upset but then I was furious. I think he’s a disgusting little man. I can’t even stand to watch the video, it makes me so angry.”
Throughout the unedited clips, Mr Aurelius talks of how the couple chose to spend more on photographers and choose his £600 “bronze” deal.
In the clip from the shul to the wedding venue, or as he described it, the “big money hotel”, he said: “They paid big money for photography, but not for video.
“When someone pays you a lot of money, you feel like you want to work hard for them. Money is a very big exchange I’ve learnt over the years.”
Mrs Gocman and her husband, both former Birmingham university students, took some comfort from the fact that the photoghraphers and their wedding planner, Samantha Kingsley, were highly professional.
“Samantha and the photographers were amazing,” said Mrs Gocman.
“Everyone made a fuss of us at our wedding and said congratulations — even the DJ and photographer. Everyone, except them.
“I’m very angry and don’t want any other Jews to use him.
“I’m just so happy that we at least have amazing photos to remember the day. The photography was more important to us and the photos we got were amazing.”
The couple, who have been together for over eight years, had considered taking legal action after the police were unable to help.
“We worked out that it would cost us more than we would get back and all we could probably sue for was negligence when it came to carrying out the contract.
“We received a letter from his solicitor saying his business had ceased, so it was not worth it,” she said.
"They think they are better than everyone"
“Everyone I have told has just been so shocked. They don’t believe it. In his head, Jews are ultra rich and make a lot of money. He didn’t understand why I took the deal.
“I wanted the photos and am so glad I have those memories. I picked his basic package and he held a vendetta.”
In an email to the videographer, Mrs Gocman said the video had: “Completely ruined the memories of our day.
“We didn’t want anything fancy or worthy of an Oscar, just a documentation of the day.
“What we got were two cameramen who clearly couldn’t be bothered to even be there, who disappeared for a long period throughout the evening and missed key footage. The footage that you did have was such poor quality.”
Mr Gocman, a senior recruiter at KPMG, and former Queen Elizabeth Grammar school student, said: “He thought we were a lot more wealthy than we are and he resented that.
“I would think that, in this day and age, someone, who had done Jewish weddings in the past, would be more accepting.”
Mr Aurelius, who has previously marketed himself as a vegan karate expert and produced The Enlightened Warrior Workout DVD, wrote a grovelling hand-written letter and a subsequent e-mail to Mrs Gocman.
“I am very sorry for our stupid, child ish conversation,” he said in the e-mail exchange. “I am also very sorry for offending you and possibly your family also. You did not deserve this. I am ashamed, in honesty.
“I have felt awful about this and did not know what to say, in truth.
“We know, in truth, very little about what went on in the war. To be deeply honest, I respect your strength as a culture from coming back from this.
“I am trying to walk a good life, but in this instance I failed very badly in God’s eyes. I need to grow up here it seems and pay more attention to developing my character. This has taught me a lot to grow up in terms of not just my actions, but what I say.”
The handwritten letter contained a cheque for a full refund.
All attempts to contact Mr Aurelius failed. We rang several mobile phone numbers and business landlines but all were unobtainable.
We wrote to two email addresses and directly tweeted him before asking his lawyer to pass on a message. All to no avail.
From those who knew him
SOLICITOR Adam Workman, of Wannops LLP, was instructed by Mr Aurelius to help close his business. He confirmed that Raising Awareness Productions ceased trading on August 9. He said: “I haven’t dealt with him since he closed his business. No one that works here has been able to get in touch with him. I have no current numbers or email addresses for him.”
WEDDING PLANNER Samantha Kingsley said: “The wedding was beautiful. I’m disgusted by his behaviour and that there is still such antisemitism in the world. I’ll never recommended him again – especially as he said he wanted to break into the Jewish markets and do bar and batmitzvahs. No simcha will have him now.”
PHOTOGRAPHER Richard Pack said: “I did once photograph a wedding that he was videoing for a couple but we certainly didn’t work together. I had a call from a woman who was trying to pursue him, around a month ago. I believe he took the money for her daughter’s wedding and never got back to her.”