United Talent Agency has canceled its annual Oscar Party as a show of defiance against President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies. Instead of holding the party, UTA said it will just donate its $250,000 budget to the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Rescue Committee.
It will also hold a rally on February 24, two days from the 2017 Academy Awards, “to express the creative community’s growing concern with anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.” This announcement came in the wake of Trump’s travel ban against seven predominantly Muslim nations. The ban has met criticisms and legal challenges from all sectors in America.
Oscar Party is a show of Hollywood’s defiance
The travel ban can potentially create a “chilling effect” on the “global exchange of ideas and expression,” UTA said in a statement. That is why it deemed impossible to hold the annual and traditional Oscar Party this year.
This is only one of the few things Hollywood has done in the past weeks since Trump assumed office. The award season has been a perfect venue for celebrities to make known their stand against the President. At the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Golden Globe Awards, stars like Ashton Kutcher, Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, and many others criticized the ban.
UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer said that America will cease to be America if it is no longer a place where artists can freely express their opinions and their creativity. “Our world is a better place for the free exchange of artists, ideas, and creative expression.”
Asghar Farhadi boycotting the awards show
The travel ban hit close to UTA and the Hollywood industry as many production workers, artists, and celebrities come from the seven countries in the list. Oscar-winning Farhadi, an Iranian filmmaker, was nominated for another award this year for The Salesman. He, however, said he won’t be at the awards show this February 26 to protest Trump’s ban.
He received UTA’s decision to cancel the party when he was in Tehran. Farhadi reportedly said he was “honored” and “in tears” because of UTA’s show of solidarity.
The agency said it will boost its donations to ACLU through crowdsourcing. Surely, Hollywood celebrities and anti-Trump sectors would gladly help UTA with this advocacy.
The Oscar Party is not the only show of defiance celebrities have done in recent weeks. Patriots players Devin McCourty and Martellus Bennett said they won’t be visiting the White House following their Super Bowl win.