Susan Sarandon, Melissa Barrera dropped from Hollywood companies after comments on Israel-Hamas war
NEW YORK (AP) — Oscar-winning actor Susan Sarandon and “Scream” star Melissa Barrera were each dropped by Hollywood companies after making comments on the Israel-Hamas war that some deemed antisemitic.
Spyglass Media Group, the production company behind the upcoming “Scream VII,” acknowledged Barrera’s exit from the horror franchise. The Mexican-born actress, who starred in “In the Heights” and the two recent “Scream” installments, had posted statements on Instagram Stories calling the war “genocide and ethnic cleansing.”
“Gaza,” she wrote, “is currently being treated like a concentration camp.”
Spyglass said in a statement that its position “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.”
Late Wednesday, Barrera posted a statement on Instagram Stories about her firing.
“First and foremost I condemn antisemitism and Islamophobia. I condemn hate and prejudice of any kind against any group of people,” she wrote.
“I believe a group of people are NOT their leadership, and that no governing body should be above criticism,” she added. “I pray day and night for no more deaths, for no more violence, and for 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.”
Earlier Wednesday, Deadline reported that Jenna Ortega, who played Barrera’s sister in the two previous “Scream” films, has exited the seventh installment. Ortega earlier departed the franchise because of her “Wednesday” schedule, the trade reported. A spokesperson for Ortega didn’t immediately respond to queries.
A spokesman for the United Talent Agency said Sarandon, the five-time Oscar nominee, is no longer represented by the agency. Sarandon’s exit from UTA followed comments she’s made about Israel, most recently in an appearance November 17 at a pro-Palestinian rally in New York.
“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, so often subjected to violence,” Sarandon said, according to the New York Post.
The Post reported that Sarandon joined the crowd in chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — a slogan some see as antisemitic because it suggests the eradication of Israel.
Sarandon could not be reached for comment Wednesday. At the rally, she also was quoted as saying: “There’s a terrible thing that’s happened where antisemitism has been confused with speaking up against Israel. I am against antisemitism. I am against Islamophobia.”
The Israel-Hamas war has caused rifts throughout Hollywood. Earlier, when many groups were issuing statements condemning Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, the Writers Guild of America ultimately didn’t after failing to come to an agreement. Maha Dakhil, a prominent agent with Creative Arts Agency, last month resigned her board seat after sharing a social media post accusing Israel of genocide. Dakhil apologised.
Israel and Hamas on Wednesday agreed to a four-day cease-fire in the war in Gaza.