Hollywood firms drop Susan Sarandon, Melissa Barrera after comments on Israel-Hamas war

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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 instalments, had posted statements on her Instagram stories calling the war “genocide and ethnic cleansing.” “Gaza,” she wrote, “is currently being treated like a concentration camp.”

“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,” Spyglass said in a statement.

Representatives for Barrera didn’t return messages Wednesday.

Jenna Ortega, who played Barrera’s sister in the two previous Scream films, is reportedly not returning, Deadline reported Wednesday. Ortega earlier exited the franchise due to her schedule for the Netflix series Wednesday, the trade magazine reported. A spokesperson for Ortega didn’t immediately respond to queries.

Sarandon dropped by agency following rally comments

A spokesperson for the United Talent Agency said Sarandon, a 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 Nov. 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 the New York Post.

Susan Sarandon attends Rufus Wainwright’s 50th birthday celebration at The Montauk Point Lighthouse on July 13 in Montauk, N.Y. The Oscar winner was dropped by her talent agency following comments she made at a pro-Palestinian rally. (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

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.

Others say the phrase is used to reference the lack of freedoms Palestinians have in the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which includes the state of Israel, as well as the Gaza Strip and the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

Sarandon could not be reached for comment Wednesday. At the rally, Sarandon 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’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, the Writers Guild of America ultimately didn’t after failing to come to 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 apologized.

Israel and Hamas on Wednesday agreed to a four-day ceasefire in the war in Gaza.

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