Top Hollywood Agency Cancels Its Oscars Party To Hold A Rally For Refugees Instead

"It just felt like the right thing to do."

United Talent Agency, one of the top agencies in Hollywood, scrapped its traditional Academy Awards party this year, and instead held a rally and fundraiser in support of refugees outside of its headquarters Saturday in Los Angeles. Called "United Voices," the two-hour event invited celebrities and talent agents to speak to an estimated 1,200 people

"I love parties and I'm all for celebrating the Oscars," Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of UTA told CNN. "I think people should have a great time this weekend. But I did feel, at this time, for us to take some of the money we spend on the party and donate that to some great causes, and to have a rally and have a place for our colleagues and friends and clients to come together, and voice their concerns — it just felt like the right thing to do."


Jodie Foster, Keegan-Michael Key, Michael J. Fox, Wilmer Valderrama, and California's Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom all spoke at the rally, which focused mainly on President Trump's immigration policies.

"We will never surrender our shared values of compassion, of human dignity, of freedom of expression, religion and the arts," Fox said, according to Vulture. "We will never bow down to division, to cruelty, to fear. We are the lucky ones ... And how about we share that luck, and share it with the people who need to be here, and who need to stay here?"

UTA announced earlier this month its plans to donate $250,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Rescue Committee in lieu of its annual pre-Oscars bash. One of the agency's artists, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, is nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language category, but would have been blocked from attending the ceremony under President Trump's travel ban.  

"When fear and division get the better of a society, artists are among the first to feel the impact — and to denounce the ill winds," Zimmer wrote in an email sent to the agency in which he announced the cancellation of their Oscars party. "With our words and our actions, the UTA family is speaking up for artists and so many others, and the vital global conversations they help lead."

(H/T: Vox)


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.