United Talent Agency has canceled its annual Academy Awards party and will instead donate $250,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Rescue Committee, and hold a rally to express the creative community’s growing concern with anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.
The actions by UTA come in the wake of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations, an action that has stirred a furor and multiple legal challenges, reports variety.UTA said its rally on Feb. 24, two days before the Oscars, is meant to combat the “potential chilling effect on the global exchange of ideas and freedom of expression.” The action follows an outpouring of disdain from Hollywood for Trump and his ban on travel, which the president says is designed to increase the security of Americans, but that critics say unfairly targets innocent people, many of whom are attempting to flee persecution in the Middle East.
Trump’s travel ban hit close to UTA, according to a statement, because the firm represents Academy Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi. Though nominated for another Oscar this year in the best foreign-language film category for “The Salesman,” Farhadi is skipping the awards ceremony on Feb. 26 to protest the “unjust” Trump ban. —Variety