Published On: Thu, Nov 23rd, 2023

Susan Sarandon, ‘Scream’ actor Melissa Barrera dropped by Hollywood companies after remarks about Israel-Hamas war

Susan Sarandon, ‘Scream’ actor Melissa Barrera dropped by Hollywood companies after remarks about Israel-Hamas war
Susan Sarandon, ‘Scream’ actor Melissa Barrera dropped by Hollywood companies after remarks about Israel-Hamas war


Hollywood companies have dropped Oscar-winning actor Susan Sarandon and “Scream” franchise actor Melissa Barrera after their comments about the Israel-Hamas war drew scrutiny and accusations of antisemitism.

The United Talent Agency dropped Sarandon after she made remarks at a pro-Palestinian rally in New York last week, said a spokesperson for the firm, who did not elaborate on the decision.

Her listed representative did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment on the decision.

Sarandon, a prolific political activist known for her left-wing views, received criticism after she said at a rally Friday that people who are “afraid of being Jewish at this time” are “getting a taste of what it feels like to be Muslim in this country, so often subjected to violence.” 

The remarks were recorded in a video published by the New York Post. The tabloid reported that Sarandon called for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, which has been under siege and bombardment by Israeli forces since the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on Oct. 7.

The comments attracted attention on social media. Aviva Klompas, a former speechwriter for Israel’s mission at the United Nations, tweeted that she believed Sarandon was “saying that American Jews have it coming — that we don’t deserve to live free from harassment and assault.”

In other comments at the rally, Sarandon said criticism of Israel should not be conflated with antisemitism. “There’s a terrible thing that’s happened where antisemitism has been confused with speaking up against Israel,” she said, according to The New York Times.

“I am against antisemitism. I am against Islamophobia,” she went on to say.

In a separate development, Spyglass Media Group confirmed that it had dropped Barrera, an up-and-coming actor, from the “Scream” horror series after a series of Instagram posts reportedly condemned Israel in strong terms.

She also appeared to echo an antisemitic trope about Jewish control of the media, reportedly writing in one post: “Western media only shows the [Israeli] side. Why do they do that, I will let you deduce for yourself.” (NBC News has not seen the posts; Variety reported on them.)

Actress Melissa Barrera in Los Angeles, Calif. on April 20, 2023.
Melissa Barrera in Los Angeles on April 20. Michael Buckner / Variety via Getty Images

In a statement posted on social media Wednesday, Barrera said she would continue to speak out when she felt compelled.

“First and foremost I condemn Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. I condemn hate and prejudice of any kind against any group of people. … Every person on this earth — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic status — deserves equal human rights, dignity, and, of course, freedom,” she wrote.

She stated se was praying for the end of violence and peaceful co-existence.

“I will continue to speak out for those that need it most and continue to advocate for peace and safety, for human rights and freedom. Silence is not an option for me,” the actor wrote.

Barrera’s publicist did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Spyglass’ decision.

Spyglass said in a statement, “We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech.”

The company co-produced the two most recent installments in the “Scream” series; Paramount Pictures handled distribution.

Sarandon is a five-time Oscar nominee who won the best actress award for her performance in “Dead Man Walking.” She is also known for her roles in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Bull Durham” and “Thelma & Louise.”

Barrera appeared in the fifth and sixth installments of the “Scream” franchise, and she had been set to appear in future installments. She also acted in the Starz series “Vida” and the big-screen adaptation of the musical “In the Heights,” released in 2021.

The war between Israel and Hamas has roiled Hollywood. Maha Dakhil, an agent at Creative Artists Agency, drew criticism after she posted messages on social media that accused Israel of “genocide.” (She has removed the posts and apologized.)

Some members criticized the Writers Guild of America after it did not immediately send out a statement condemning the Hamas assault, which killed more than 1,000 people. Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed more than 14,000 people in Gaza.




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