Maggie Gyllenhaal is criticized for comments about American responsibility for the attacks

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 26, 2005 03:00 PM

Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal is standing firm regarding comments she made on a local New York TV news channel that the United States “is responsible in some way” for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

The remarks were made during an interview on the all-news cable channel NY1 as she promoted her new movie at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Great New Wonderful. The film, which also stars Edie Falco and Tony Shalhoub, contains different stories about people living in the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster.

As Gyllenhaal, 27, said on TV: “Because I think America has done reprehensible things and is responsible in some way and so I think the delicacy with which it’s dealt allows that to sort of creep in.”

Criticism kicked in almost immediately, leading Gyllenhaal to release a follow-up statement on her fan Web site.

“9/11 was a terrible tragedy and of course it goes without saying that I grieve along with every American for everyone who suffered and everyone who died in the catastrophe,” she wrote. “But for those of us who were spared, it was also an occasion to be brave enough to ask some serious questions about America’s role in the world. Because it is always useful, as individuals or nations to ask how we may have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to this conflict. Not to have the courage to ask these questions of ourselves is to betray the victims of 9/11.”

Newsday reports that one New York City firefighter, asking to remain anonymous, said that the actress’s comments monopolized all the attention in his firefighter chatroom Monday, with firefighters alerting their colleagues to send messages on to Maggie.

The newspaper went on to report that the NYFD declined comment on the matter, and the Uniformed Firefighters Association could not be reached for comment.