Stranger Things star Noah Schapp has taken to TikTok to clarify his views on the Israel-Hamas conflict after feeling like his beliefs have been “misconstrued.”
Schapp attracted criticism in November after a video of the 19-year-old actor and his friends holding “Zionism is sexy” and “Hamas is ISIS” stickers surfaced online. The short clip led critics online to accuse the star of “supporting genocide” and of being a “Nazi Zionist.” Many have called for the boycott of Stranger Things, whose star-studded cast includes actor Brett Gelman, an outspoken supporter of Israel since October 7.
Schapp, who is Jewish and celebrated his bar mitzvah in Israel, clarified in his recent TikTok video: “I want peace and safety and security for all innocent people affected by this conflict.”
He added: “I've had many open discussions with friends from Palestinian backgrounds and I think those are very important conversations to have and I’ve learned a lot.”
“One of the takeaways I've had is that we all hope for the same things, that those innocent people still held in Gaza to be returned to their families, and equally hope for an end to the loss of innocent life in Palestine, so many of those people being women and children.”
“I think anyone with any ounce of humanity would hope for an end to the hostility on both sides,” Schapp said in the video posted on Tuesday. “I stand against any killing of any innocent people, and I hope you guys all do too.
“I just hope to one day see those two groups be able to live harmoniously together in that region and I hope for 2024 online to see people being a little more understanding and compassionate.”
Many social media users have been quick to dismiss Schapp’s peacemaking efforts as a PR move designed to smooth things over as production begins for season five of Stranger Things.
One Twittwe user wrote: “Noah Schnapp going from ‘Zionism is sexy’ to ‘I just want peace’ purely for good PR before Stranger Things 5 comes out. ‘Peace’ really is the word of the white liberal, because it’s so vague. There’s no such thing as peace without first liberation.”
But Gelman stood by his young co-star, telling TMZ that he didn’t think there was anything Schnapp had to apologise for because he “saw nothing wrong with the original thing that he said.”
“He held up a sticker that said ‘Zionism is sexy’ and he said ‘Hamas is ISIS,’” Gelman added. “Hamas is a terrorist organization and Zionism is the belief that Israel should exist, and that’s sexy to me.”