The Israel-Hamas war, which began on May 10 2021, has upended Hollywood with many celebrities, agents, and production companies taking positions on the conflict and its geopolitical ramifications. The issue has divided many and caused some projects to be dropped by agents and producers, while others have only been put on hold until the situation improves.
The Israel-Hamas conflict has become a lightning rod for debate and action in Hollywood, with celebrities and agents on either side of the issue having to grapple with the consequences of their stances. Some stars have made statements in one way or another in support of either Israel or Palestine. For example, Scarlett Johansson recently joined BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) in support of Palestine, while actress Gal Gadot was roundly criticized for her pro-Israel statements.
The political, and increasingly vocal, battle over the Israel-Hamas conflict has also had a tangible effect on projects that were getting ready to begin production. Agents and producers have refused to be associated with films or shows that don’t take a particular stance on the issue, prompting some projects to be dropped or put on indefinite hold. Ariel Emanuel, CEO of William Morris Endeavor, recently dropped a series about the conflict due to pressure from the BDS movement, while other projects like the Israeli-Palestine one-man show “Waiting for Peace” have been postponed.
At the same time, some projects have been bolstered by its recent attention. For example, Steven Spielberg has recommitted to producing a show about a teen in Jerusalem working against the backdrop of the conflict, while an Israeli documentary about a human rights attorney has also seen an uptick in production following her recent speech at the United Nations.
Ultimately, the conflict between Israel and Hamas has become a dividing line between Hollywood and its stars, agents, and producers. Some are vocally taking a stance, while others are refusing to be associated with projects that don’t take a side. In the end, the conflict is having tangible effects on the entertainment industry, as projects are being dropped or postponed due to their associated stance on the conflict.