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Think before canceling Hollywood celebrities over Israel-Hamas war
Let’s just lay it out there. None of us, none of us, is getting everything about the Israel-Hamas conflict right. The October 7 attack by Hamas and subsequent retaliation by the IDF are tragedies almost beyond comprehension. But they are also incredibly complex, rooted in long-entrenched generational trauma. And while each of us can certainly have our own opinions, the reality for most of us is that our perceptions of this situation are necessarily incomplete.
We are, each of us, being influenced by our own histories, our own traumas, the particular algorithm that our phones decide to feed us. I had what wasn’t a fight, but a disagreement, with a friend the other day on this topic, and my friend was 1,000% opposed to Israel’s defensive strategies. While discussing that, she was livid, her face was red as she talked about the plight of the Palestinian people. I agree with her. I do. And yet I found myself arguing the IDF talking points, because, really because fear and pain don’t always line up neatly with political ideologies. It is so complicated. It is so devastating. And I really, truly do think that anyone who believes their opinion to be unimpeachable is lying to themselves.
So, given the current climate, it hasn’t especially surprised me to see Hollywood eating its own. Historically, the entertainment industry tends to lean left, and usually stands together against Donald Trump, for example. But the Israel-Hamas conflict, and Hollywood’s response, speaks to just how deeply divided we are when it comes to the best path forward in the wake of the October 7 massacre.
Entertainment industry players who have found themselves under metaphorical fire for their views include actress Melissa Barrera, who was fired from the Scream franchise after public comments that the production company behind the film deemed antisemitic. She had accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Susan Sarandon, the outspoken liberal Oscar winner, was dropped by her agency for her pro-Palestine views. CAA agent Maha Dakhil also accused Israel of participating in genocide, and was censured by her employers. She faced likely termination until one of her clients, a certain Tom Cruise if you’ve heard of him, he intervened.
On the flip side, we have comedian Amy Schumer and actress Gal Gadot, who have been very vocally pro-Israel, but have recently been slammed online for failing to comment on the release of the hostages.
So here’s where I stand on all of this controversy. You know, people in the public eye are expected to opine on things that they’re honestly not especially qualified to talk about all the time. In this case, the stakes are decidedly higher than usual. I would venture that before we start canceling actors, agents, anyone for expressing their thoughts about a situation that, frankly, none of us understands in all of its complexity, we take a step back. We recognize that when emotions are running this high, many of us say and do things that fall short. In hindsight, we remember that we are all just humans, trying to do our best, and we give these people and ourselves some grace.
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