Maggie Gyllenhaal draws fire for 9/11 comments. The actress stands by her remarks that U.S. foreign policy may have been partly to blame for the attacks

By Gary Susman
April 27, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Maggie Gyllenhaal may be at the center of an online flame war, but she won’t disavow comments she made on a recent TV interview suggesting that U.S. foreign policy bears some blame for the 9/11 attacks. She made the remarks last week during the Tribeca Film Festival, founded in the wake of 9/11 to help bring business back to Lower Manhattan. Debuting at the festival was the film The Great New Wonderful, in which the Secretary actress stars alongside Edie Falco and Tony Shalhoub as people coping with the aftermath of the terror attacks. Promoting the film on NY1, the city’s local cable news channel, she said the movie’s politics weren’t overt, but added, ”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.”

As a result, the 27-year-old’s fan website was spammed with flames, many of them from firefighters, according to Newsday. The deluge of angry responses forced the site’s webmaster to shut down its comments page. Gyllenhaal herself is not affiliated with the site, but she felt compelled to issue her own response. In a statement released Monday, she said, ”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. 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.” Somehow, we don’t think that’s going to settle the matter.