The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has recently come into focus for Hollywood elites, while the controversial issue has pitted many in the industry against one another. On one side of the dispute stand those who are fiercely supportive of the Jewish state, on the other side those who object to the use of military force.
The Israel-Hamas conflict, which began on May 11, has become more intense since then, with over 200 Palestinians, including children, and 12 Israelis killed in the fighting, according to the Associated Press. The intensifying violence has further inflamed an already-contentious debate in Hollywood over the conflict.
Many actors, directors and producers have taken to social media to publicly declare their stance on the issue.
On one side, Ethan Hawke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Wahlberg, Jay Leno, Scarlett Johansson and Hayden Panettiere are some of the prominent names that have spoken out in support of Israel.
On the other side, many creative artists, including singer Rihanna, Jamie Foxx, Josh Gad, Jennifer Aniston, John Legend and John Cusack, have called for an immediate ceasefire and condemned Israeli air strikes on Gaza.
The conflict in the Middle East has also spilled over into Hollywood’s workplace. Scripts based on the conflict have been pitched to production studios. However, many of these projects have been rejected due to concerns that perceiving the conflict in a certain light might attract accusations of bias.
Agents have also been cautioning their clients to avoid taking public stances on the issue for fear of it adversely impacting their careers. Moreover, prospective projects involving star-studded casts – including a yet-to-be-announced project from writer/director Brett Ratner – have been shelved or cut from consideration as a result of their actors’ political affiliations.
The Israel-Hamas conflict has had far-reaching implications leading some Hollywood creatives to be more careful about taking public stances in order to avoid getting embroiled in any controversy and subsequent financial repercussions.
Nonetheless, through vigorous debate and persuasion, it is hoped that some common ground can be reached and a peaceful resolution achieved in this most contentious of Middle Eastern conflicts.