UTA drops actor Susan Sarandon after comments at pro-Palestinian rally amid Israel-Hamas war

TORONTO, ONT., CAN -- SEPTEMBER 06, 2019-- Actor Susan Sarandon, from the film "Blackbird," photographed in the L.A. Times Photo Studio at the Toronto International Film Festival, in Toronto, Ont., Canada on September 06, 2019. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Actor Susan Sarandon has been dropped by United Talent Agency after comments she made about the Israel-Hamas war. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

As tensions continue to mount in Hollywood over the Israel-Hamas war, United Talent Agency has dropped actor Susan Sarandon as a client after comments she made about the conflict.

Sarandon was criticized earlier this month for her remarks at a pro-Palestinian rally in New York. The actor, who has starred in movies including "Thelma & Louise" and "Dead Man Walking," called for a cease-fire, according to the New York Post.

“There are a lot of people that are afraid, that are afraid of being Jewish at this time, and are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country,” Sarandon said at the rally, according to the Post.

UTA on Tuesday confirmed to The Times that the actor was no longer a client. The Beverly Hills agency declined further comment.

"When Susan Sarandon said that Jews 'are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country,' she was saying that American Jews have it coming — that we don't deserve to live free from harassment and assault," wrote Aviva Klompas, co-founder of the pro-Israel nonprofit Boundless Israel on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Read more: How the Israel-Hamas war is dividing Hollywood

The agency's decision to drop Sarandon comes as the entertainment industry is grappling with how to respond to the Israel-Hamas war.

Actor Melissa Barrera is no longer appearing in the upcoming horror franchise film "Scream VII" after the actor shared pro-Palestinian statements on social media that some believed crossed a line into antisemitic territory, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to comment publicly.

“Gaza is currently being treated like a concentration camp,” she wrote in one post on Instagram stories that was cited by the Hollywood Reporter, which earlier reported Barrera's exit from "Scream VII." “Cornering everyone together, with no where to go, no electricity no water … People have learnt nothing from our histories. And just like our histories, people are still silently watching it all happen. THIS IS GENOCIDE & ETHNIC CLEANSING.”

Barrera's representatives did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday. Spyglass, which is producing the "Scream" sequel, told Variety that it has "zero tolerance for antisemitism."

“Spyglass’ stance is unequivocally clear: 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,” a Spyglass spokesperson told Variety.

The Writers Guild of America decided not to weigh in on the issue because there was a lack of consensus among its members. That inaction upset some Jewish writers who felt the union should issue a statement following Hamas' deadly Oct. 7 attack in Israel.

At Century City-based Creative Artists Agency, a prominent agent, Maha Dakhil, resigned her board seat and stepped back from her role as co-head of the motion picture department after she was criticized for sharing a social media post that accused Israel of genocide. She deleted her post and later apologized. Still, Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin left her for rival agency WME.

Read more: Maha Dakhil, a top agent at CAA, steps aside from leadership roles after Israel-Hamas post

Sarandon and her representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

"There’s a terrible thing that’s happened where antisemitism has been confused with speaking up against Israel,” Sarandon told the New York Times earlier this month. “I am against antisemitism. I am against Islamophobia.”

The news of Sarandon being dropped by UTA was first reported by Page Six.

Senior editor Ryan Faughnder contributed to this report.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.