United Talent Agency, one of the half-dozen major talent agencies in Hollywood, has canceled its annual Oscar party and will instead host a rally in support of refugees at its Los Angeles office, according to a report.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer informed agency staff of the change in a letter this week.
The company — home to big-name clients like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Mariah Carey, Toby Keith and dozens of others — also plans to donate $250,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has worked to oppose President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily prohibiting immigration from seven countries, and to the International Rescue Committee.
“This is a moment that demands our generosity, awareness and restlessness,” Zimmer reportedly wrote to his 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 move to cancel the glitzy annual Oscars party comes as Hollywood has become increasingly vocal about Trump’s policy proposals and executive actions, particularly his action on immigration. At the Screen Actors Guild Awards last month, several film and television stars used their acceptance speeches to speak out against Trump’s order; actress Sarah Paulson specifically called for donations to the ACLU.
THR further reported that Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of mega-agency and UTA competitor WME-IMG, sent an email to staff Wednesday notifying them that the company would be forming a political action committee, though it wasn’t immediately clear on what the PAC would focus.
“This company’s greatest asset is the diversity of our backgrounds and beliefs,” Emanuel wrote to the agency. “Please know that we will do everything in our power to support and protect this diversity now and in the months and years ahead.”
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum