COLIN Firth's hopes of Oscar glory for his portrayal of George VI are under threat from an apparent internet smear campaign alleging that the wartime monarch had Nazi sympathies.
Firth's depiction of George VI's battle to overcome his stammer has won acclaim for 'The King's Speech' on both sides of the Atlantic. But there are fears that its success at next month's Oscars could be hampered by an email apparently being circulated to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who vote on the awards, accusing the film of "glossing over" history.
It alleges that George VI actively "stymied" efforts by Jews fleeing Nazi Germany to settle in British-controlled Palestine.
He is said to have written to Lord Halifax, then the foreign secretary, in early 1939 speaking of "steps" being taken to prevent Jewish refugees leaving their country of origin.
A significant number of academy members come from Jewish families that emigrated to America from Nazi-occupied Europe (© Daily Telegraph, London).