Ben Platt wears Magen David to Met Gala in show of Jewish pride

The 'Parade' star attended the night - which controversially honoured Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld - with his Jewish co-star


NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 01: Ben Platt attends The 2023 Met Gala Celebrating "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line Of Beauty" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 01, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Jewish actor Ben Platt, who is currently starring in a Broadway musical about an infamous antisemitic episode in American history, donned a Star of David necklace to Monday night’s Met Gala as guests honoured controversial figure Karl Lagerfeld.

In keeping with this year’s Met Gala theme of Karl Lagerfeld – the legendary German Chanel designer who had Nazi parents – Platt also wore a white tweed suit, corset, and platform heels in addition to the diamond-studded Magen David.

Platt is currently starring in a Broadway run of “Parade”, which tells the story of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory superintendent who in 1915, despite protesting his innocence, was lynched after being accused of the rape and murder of a 13-year-old employee.

The court case became the focus of a national media frenzy in the United States at the time and was the catalyst for one of the first-ever nationwide conversations about antisemitism.

Parade received six Tony nominations, including Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Platt's portrayal of Leo Frank.

Platt, who is Jewish, said the show is warranted at a time of rising antisemitism and white supremacy in the US.

He told the New York Times in October, “[Parade] is all about not only antisemitism, but the failure of the country to protect lots of marginalised groups, and we’re all feeling that really intensively right now.”

During the play’s first night of previews on Broadway in February, a group of neo-Nazis belonging to the American National Socialist Movement rallied outside the building to claim that Frank had been guilty and saw the advocacy on his behalf as evidence of Jewish control of the media.

Platt said on social media afterward that it “was definitely very ugly and scary, but [also] a wonderful reminder of why we’re telling this particular story, and how special and powerful art and particularly theatre can be.”

Platt’s Parade co-star, Micaela Diamond, who is also Jewish, attended the premiere and drew praise from some fashion watchers for wearing her hair in its natural curls.

The duo became the first two Jewish people to play Leo and Lucille Frank on Broadway.

On the daytime talk show The View, Platt recently spoke further about his Jewish identity in response to a question about whether his faith and identity changes the way he approaches roles.

He said this role has allowed him to “embrace the kind of undeniability of my being Jewish.

“There’s this thing in the community about what is a bad Jew, what is a good Jew – does it mean you go to temple or keep kosher, and for me I’m not necessarily very observant, I’m not like a deeply theological person. But culturally and in my blood, [I am].”

He added, “For me it’s a lot more about the culture of it, the curiosity and the asking questions of it, the familial nature of Judaism and knowing that can be just as valid of my culture as going to temple every week. And whatever form it takes is something to be proud of.

“But antisemitism has always been there, and I think much like many conversations, [bringing it to light] and taking it out of the shadows is a hopefully really positive way [of combatting it].”

The theme of this year’s Met Gala drew criticism due to Lagerfeld's alleged reputation of racism and sexism. Before his death, Lagerfeld was condemned by some for criticising Germany’s 2017 decision to admit Muslim refugees.

He said: “You cannot kill millions of Jews and then take in millions of their worst enemies, even if after there are decades [between the events].”

Parade is currently on a limited run until August 6 at the Bernard B. Jacobs theatre in New York.

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