Legendary actress Dame Helen Mirren is facing a torrent of online abuse for portraying Golda Meir in an upcoming biopic on Israel’s first and only female prime minister.
The film chronicles the harrowing days of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when Meir and the rest of Israel’s leadership were caught off-guard by a joint invasion by both Syria and Egypt.
But though defeat looked imminent, Israel rallied and beat back her foes. By the end of the war, Israel itself had invaded both Syria and Egypt and was threatening those nations’ capital cities.
Even so, Meir was pushed to resign in disgrace and died just four years later.
Mirren called it “a great challenge to portray [Meir] at the most difficult moment of her extraordinary life.”
But many Internet trolls were less flattering in their descriptions of both Golda Meir and Helen Mirren.
“How sick making a biopic on criminal Golda Meir and yes no surprise Helen Mirren the racist is happy to portray the pure distorted version of a disgusting individual,” wrote one Twitter user.
Another accused Mirren of delivering a slap in the face to the “people of Palestine.”
A third was “hugely disappointed” that Mirren had “volunteered” to play the role of Meir.
But Mirren is no stranger to Israel, or to being criticized for supporting the Jewish state.
In 2016, the Oscar-winning actress hosted the third annual Genesis Prize ceremony in Jerusalem. She was bombarded with demands that she boycott the event, but Mirren rejected the calls and instead urged fellow artists to engage with Israel.
“I am a believer in Israel … I think this is an extraordinary country filled with very, very extraordinary people,” she told reporters in Jerusalem at the time.