United Talent Agency Cancels Oscar Party, Replaces It With Refugee Rally
The United Talent Agency, which is one one of the largest talent agencies in the world, is replacing their annual Oscar Party in favor of a rally in support of refugees at their office in Beverly Hills.
UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer informed the staff at the agency about the change in a letter earlier this week, the Hollywood Reporter reported.
“This is a moment that demands our generosity, awareness and restlessness,” wrote UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer to staff. “Our world is a better place for the free exchange of artists, ideas and creative expression. If our nation ceases to be the place where artists the world over can come to express themselves freely, then we cease, in my opinion, to be America.”
The United Talent Agency has a number of celebrity clients including the likes of Angelina Jolie, Will Ferrell, Chris Brown, Mariah Carey, Owen Wilson, Don Cheadle, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
UTA plans to donate $250,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that has been challenging President Trump’s executive order temporarily halting immigration from seven different countries, as well as the International Rescue Committee.
“This is a moment that demands our generosity, awareness and restlessness,” Zimmer reportedly wrote. “Our world is a better place for the free exchange of artists, ideas and creative expression. If our nation ceases to be the place where artists the world over can come to express themselves freely, then we cease, in my opinion, to be America.”
The talent agency will be hosting a pro-immigration rally on February 24, just two days before the Oscar awards show is set to broadcast on television.
The rally is called “United Voices” and aims to express “the creative community’s growing concern with anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States and its potential chilling effect on the global exchange of ideas and freedom of expression,” a statement from the agency said.
The company said that they have been impacted by the travel ban because one of their clients is from one of the seven banned countries.
“The agency is witnessing the current controversy firsthand through the experiences of Academy Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, a UTA client. Although nominated for an Oscar again this year in the best foreign language film category for The Salesman, Farhadi has announced he will forgo the trip to the United States for the ceremony due, in his words, to ‘the unjust circumstances’ of the proposed U.S. travel ban from seven predominantly Muslim countries,” the statement read.
The decision to cancel the Oscar party comes at a time when Hollywood has become more vocal speaking out against Donald Trump’s policies.