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UTA to host rally for civil liberties and refugees in place of Oscars party today

By | Published on Friday 24 February 2017


US talent agency UTA will today host a rally against the erosion of civil liberties and the growing anti-immigrant sentiment in the country. The event is being held in place of the company’s traditional Oscars party, which it cancelled earlier this month, instead donating $250,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Rescue Committee.

Explaining that decision in an email to staff earlier this month, CEO Jeremy Zimmer said: “On Sunday morning I was up early reading the paper. I read a few sad stories about Syrian refugees, then more stories about the impact of the ‘non-ban/ban’ on immigration. My next task was to go through my contacts and make sure the list for our Oscar party included everyone. Eventually, my eyes landed on the name of our client Asghar Farhadi”.

“As everyone knows, Asghar is nominated again this year for his extraordinary work, ‘The Salesman'”, he continued. “Yet he will not be making the trip from Tehran to Los Angeles in protest of the proposed ban on travel to the US from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Staring at our invite list, I shook my head at Asghar’s situation. Then I realised: It’s not ‘his’ situation; it’s our situation. UTA has always been a family – our artists, our buyers, our colleagues. This is essential to who we are as a company. And, now is a time to be true to our DNA and stand up for our family and the issues we face across our society”.

So in place of a big Oscars knees up, UTA will block off the street outside its Beverly Hills HQ at 3pm this afternoon for the ‘United Voices’ rally. The event will feature speakers from the worlds of politics and entertainment, plus performances from artists on the UTA roster.

On top of the $250,000 handed to the ACLU and IRC by UTA, the event will also be raising further funds. Those unable to attend can add some money to the pot here.