February 21, 2024

The Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon was dropped by United Talent Agency after comments she made at a recent pro-Palestinian rally drew criticism online.

An agency spokesman, Richard Siklos, confirmed Tuesday that Sarandon was no longer represented by the agency but declined to elaborate. Efforts to reach Sarandon for comment were not immediately successful. Her separation from the agency was reported earlier by The New York Post.

Sarandon was dropped after making remarks at a rally in New York City last week.

“There are a lot of people that are afraid, afraid of being Jewish at this time, and are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country, so often subjected to violence,” she said at the rally, where she called for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, according to a video published by The Post.

Those remarks were criticized on social media; a former speechwriter for Israel’s delegation to the United Nations said on the X platform, formerly Twitter, that she had interpreted Sarandon’s remark as implying that Jews “have it coming — that we don’t deserve to live free from harassment and assault.” The Post characterized her remarks as an “anti-Jewish rant” in a headline.

Sarandon said at the rally that being critical of Israel should not be considered antisemitic. “There’s a terrible thing that’s happened where antisemitism has been confused with speaking up against Israel,” Sarandon said. “I am against antisemitism. I am against Islamophobia.”

There has been a sharp rise in antisemitic crimes in New York City since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, according to the police department. On Oct. 7, Hamas fighters infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing roughly 1,200 people and taking about 240 people hostage, according to the Israeli government. More than 11,000 Palestinians, including more than 4,600 children, have been killed since the Israeli counteroffensive began, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

A five-time Academy Award nominee and one-time winner — for best actress, in 1995’s “Dead Man Walking” — Sarandon counts “Bull Durham” and “Thelma & Louise” among her credits. This year, she featured in the latest DC Comics movie, “Blue Beetle.” She has also long been known for her political activism.

Hollywood has been riven in recent weeks by the Israel-Hamas war. Some Jewish writers were angered that their union did not quickly issue a statement condemning Hamas. A prominent agent at Creative Artists Agency, Maha Dakhil, posted messages to social media accusing Israel of “genocide” and then removed them. She issued an apology and resigned from an internal leadership position at the company. One of her prominent clients, the screenwriter and playwright Aaron Sorkin, dropped her as his agent, saying in a statement, “Maha isn’t an antisemite, she’s just wrong.”