In 1987, a German play called Garbage, the City, and Death was scheduled to open in Rotterdam. The controversial piece featured prostitutes, pimps, and a powerful character named "the Rich Jew," which caused Croiset's activist instincts to flare right the hell up. He single-handedly managed to build up such a strong backlash against the production that it had to be cancelled. However, that wasn't the end of the story.
A little later, Croiset was visiting Belgium when he was kidnapped by three young neo-fascists in retaliation for getting the play cancelled. The theater-loving trio of teen Nazis dragged the actor into a sewer, where they ripped his Star of David pendant from his neck and smeared a swastika on his chest (he didn't specify what they smeared him with, and frankly we're fine with this). Croiset was held captive and abused for hours before he managed to escape.
"I found a pair of nunchucks next to a pile of old pizza boxes and fought my way to freedom."
This happened during a time when the Netherlands was going through an oddly heavy bout of fascist activity. Apart from the incident with the play, several prominent Jewish citizens had gotten threatening letters. There was even a bomb threat against one predominantly Jewish event. Croiset's kidnapping was the last straw -- his ordeal made headlines. Demonstrations were staged, political speeches were given, everyone was angry. But not as angry as they would soon be ... at Croiset.
The Real Story:
That wave of neo-Nazi activity that had been plaguing the country? It had a name, and that name was Jules Croiset.
Things started unraveling when it turned out Croiset's kidnapping story was complete horseshit. He made up the whole incident and gave such a convincing performance describing it that everyone -- from cops to media to politicians to the adoring public -- believed him.
You'd almost think he was like an actor or something.
One month after the alleged kidnapping, the police started noticing inconsistencies in the story, so they decided to question Croiset more thoroughly. That's when the actor finally broke down and confessed that the entire incident was a hoax. Once his facade cracked, it soon became apparent that a lot of his activism had been tainted with the same "anything goes" attitude. Remember that Nazi bomb threat we mentioned earlier? In an attempt to prove that a certain play called Garbage, the City, and Death was in no way anti-Semitic despite what some people say, its producers had arranged a private performance for the Jewish community. Said performance was abruptly cancelled due to an anonymous bomb threat call. Guess which famous actor was behind that shit?
Croiset also confessed to writing a bunch of threatening letters using a fake group called the Dutch Fascist Youth Front as an alias and sending them to prominent members of the Jewish community, including himself. One of the letters went to his wife and threatened the lives of their two children. Smooth, Jules, real smooth.
"Dear Mrs. Croiset: Your entire family will die. MWAHAHAHAHA! Love, Jules ... wait, shit."
In the end, Jules Croiset managed to get away with little more than a slap on the wrist (he is still acting today), since his entire message was "Nazis are bad," and apparently that excuses any behavior, no matter how batshit (including, again, threatening the lives of his own wife and children). We're betting he still sleeps on the couch, though.
Robin Warder is the co-owner of a pop culture website called The Back Row and was recently involved in the making of a sci-fi short film called Jet Ranger of Another Tomorrow.
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