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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Adrian Horton

Susan Sarandon dropped by talent agency after remarks at pro-Palestine rally

Susan Sarandon speaks at pro-Palestinian rally on 17 November
Susan Sarandon speaks at pro-Palestinian rally on 17 November. Photograph: Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

The Hollywood talent agency UTA has dropped Susan Sarandon as a client after she spoke at a pro-Palestine rally over the weekend, a spokesperson for the agency confirmed to Deadline.

The Oscar-winning actor attended several rallies in support of Palestine and drew criticism for saying: “There are a lot of people afraid of being Jewish at this time, and are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country.”

In remarks captured on video, Sarandon encouraged others to keep speaking up in support of Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas war. “People are questioning, people are standing up, people are educating themselves, people are stepping away from brainwashing that started when they were kids,” said Sarandon at the rally. She encouraged attendees to “be strong, be patient, be clear and stand with anybody who has the courage to speak out” and thanked “the Jewish community who’s come out to have our backs”.

Sarandon went on to repost a pro-Palestinian message from Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters on X, formerly known as Twitter. Waters has been criticized over the years for alleged antisemitic remarks, although he has always rejected those claims, previously saying: “I have spent my entire life speaking out against authoritarianism and oppression wherever I see it. When I was a child after the war, the name of Anne Frank was often spoken in our house, she became a permanent reminder of what happens when fascism is left unchecked. My parents fought the Nazis in World War II, with my father paying the ultimate price.”

Since the Hamas attack on 7 October that killed at least 1,200 Israelis and led to hundreds being taken hostage, more than 14,000 people have been killed in the Israeli assault on Gaza, including at least 5,600 children, according to the government in the occupied territories.

Sarandon is the latest public figure to find themselves in hot water over their stance on the war, particularly in support of Palestine. Scream VI star Melissa Barrera, who was lined up to play the lead in the upcoming Scream VII, was fired from the film on Tuesday by the production company Spyglass; the company told Variety they removed her from the film due to some social media posts that had been interpreted as antisemitic.

Barrera has been posting on her Instagram about her support for Palestine and described Israel as committing “genocide”, and “brutally killing innocent Palestinians, mothers and children, under the pretence of destroying Hamas”.

“Western media only shows the [Israeli] side. Why do they do that, I will let you deduce for yourself,” she wrote on 22 October, adding: “We don’t need more hate. No Islamophobia. No Anti-semitism [sic].”

The Guardian has not confirmed which posts Spyglass was referring to. Barrera has yet to respond to requests for comment.

Last month, Maha Dakhil, the co-head of film at Hollywood powerhouse agency CAA, faced internal backlash and resigned from the agency’s board after she reposted an image on Instagram that read, in part: “You’re currently learning who supports genocide.”

Dakhil added the caption: “That’s the line for me.” She then posted a second image that read: “What’s more heartbreaking than witnessing genocide? Witnessing the denial that genocide is happening.”

The posts prompted the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, one of Dakhil and CAA’s prominent clients, to publicly denounce her words and leave the agency for rival William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME). “Maha isn’t an antisemite, she’s just wrong. She’s a great agent and I’m very proud of the work we did together over the last six years,” Sorkin said in a statement to Variety.

Dakhil has since deleted both images and made a public apology. “I made a mistake with a repost in my Instagram story, which used hurtful language. Like so many of us, I have been reeling with heartbreak. I pride myself on being on the side of humanity and peace,” Dakhil said in a statement to Variety.

“I’m so grateful to Jewish friends and colleagues who pointed out the implications and further educated me. I immediately took the repost down. I’m sorry for the pain I have caused,” she said.

Sarandon reportedly signed with UTA in 2014. She appeared this year in the movies Blue Beetle and Maybe I Do, and did a handful of television appearances.

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