Lear, who is set to receive Variety’s Creative Conscience Award on Sept. 17, sees a parallel to the propaganda and hate speech that can easily be found today online and even on mainstream newscasts: “It’s so familiar to me as it washes over all of us. The hate that’s being spewed — the racial hate, the religious hate. I sure remember the feeling of this creeping hatred and racism back then, and I feel it all around us today.”
The Coughlins of the world “scared the shit out of me” as a young Jewish boy, Lear adds. “But it also helped me get my guard up.