UTA Scraps Usual Oscar Party; Plans Rally For Refugees Instead

Image (1) UTA_Logo_RGB_P111013201729-275x246__131018020612.png for post 614867

UPDATE: UTA’s party cancellation has certainly pleased one client. Per the agency, Iranian helmer Asghar Farhadi, who in the wake of President Donald Trump’s travel ban said he won’t be coming to see if his film The Salesman wins the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, texted the agency his reaction from Tehran after UTA scrapped its party in favor of a pro-immigration rally. Per the agency, Farhadi said that he is “honored and in tears.”

PREVIOUS: UTA, which like fellow agencies WME and CAA holds a lavish party for its clients and industry heavyweights the Friday night before Oscars, has announced it is scrapping the bash usually held at the home of Jim Berkus. Instead, the agency will host a rally at its Los Angeles headquarters that Friday afternoon.

The gathering –“United Voices”– will counter the anti-immigration sentiment fomented by the extreme vetting program instituted by President Donald Trump — and temporarily blocked by a federal judge. UTA said it wants to express the creative community’s growing concern with anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. and its potential chilling effect on the global exchange of ideas and freedom of expression. UTA also announced it will donate $250,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Rescue Committee.

Per UTA: “The agency is witnessing the current controversy firsthand through the experiences of Academy Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, a UTA client. Although nominated for an Oscar again this year in the best foreign language film category for The Salesman, Farhadi has announced he will forgo the trip to the United States for the ceremony due, in his words, to “the unjust circumstances” of the proposed U.S. travel ban from seven predominantly Muslim countries.”

Said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer in a letter to agency employees just now: “This is a moment that demands our generosity, awareness and restlessness. Our world is a better place for the free exchange of artists, ideas and creative expression. If our nation ceases to be the place where artists the world over can come to express themselves freely, then we cease, in my opinion, to be America.”

The agency announced it has simultaneously launched a CrowdRise fundraising campaign to accept further contributions to the two groups from the broader creative community.

Zimmer again: “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. With our words and our actions, the UTA family is speaking up for so many, including all artists and the vital global conversations they help lead.”

Here is the specific information on the event:

TIME: 3-5 PM on Friday, February 24 (Oscar Weekend)

LOCATION: Outside UTA Headquarters
9336 Civic Center Drive
Beverly Hills, CA

PARTICIPANTS: Members of the creative community and other leading voices

  1. Anonymouson Feb 8, 2017

  2. Hazon Feb 8, 2017

    This would be admirable if we didn’t have many American citizens homeless and living under bridges. Why haven’t they scrapped their parties before and donated the money to the homeless?

    • Johnon Feb 8, 2017

      All agencies actually contribute significant funds to helping the homeless and all americans. The immigration ban is relevant to the Oscars because artists such as Asghar Farhadi have been prevented from entering the U.S. therefore threatening the free exchange of ideas and art. Standing for one issue doesn’t mean standing down on another.

    • I’ll Never Get a Real Answeron Feb 8, 2017

      Why haven’t you donated all of your money to the homeless if you’re so worried?

    • KREon Feb 8, 2017

      What you just did is called “whataboutism.” Instead of addressing the issue at hand, you say, “yeah, but what about..?”

    • KJon Feb 8, 2017

      Not to mention how horribly our veterans are treated. Where was the outrage from Hollywood when veterans were dying waiting for care from VA Hospitals?

    • getrealon Feb 8, 2017

      By all means, let’s chastise people for doing something charitable. They’re doing it now – it’s extremely admirable and commendable. Good for you UTA.

    • Anonymouson Feb 8, 2017

      Its an understandable kneejerk reaction to say lets take care of the mess here. I get it. BUT, many of us DO help here, we just do it anonymously..not for instagram likes, not for articles. Dont be so quick to assume people arent trying here in your backyard.

    • Calm Downon Feb 8, 2017

    • Elion Feb 8, 2017

      Not anti-immigrant or pro-Trump, but agree with your comment. Unfortunately, homelessness is so last year.

    • Jared Wynnon Feb 8, 2017

      If we can afford to build a 20 billion dollar wall that won’t have any impact whatsoever, then we can afford to end homelessness. And homelessness and refugees are not mutually exclusive, there’s no weight whatsoever to the argument that we have to prioritize one set of human beings over another (unless we’re arguing women and children, in which case refugees take precedence). The “forget about refugees and pretend to fix homelessness while we build a wall that Mexico won’t pay for” argument is laughably lame, and if you’re using it, it means you’re either morally or intellectually challenged. And you will never be able to convince anyone with a triple-digit IQ otherwise, Haz. See if you can come up with an argument that isn’t utter nonsense, will you?

  3. Anonymouson Feb 8, 2017

    So Syrian refugees are the lifeblood of tech and innnovation in the US? And these same Syrian refugees these people all want to rush into the US– how many talent agencies or studios employ these refugees? Baffling

  4. Anonymouson Feb 8, 2017

    thats what happens when you have no nominees.

  5. Anonymouson Feb 8, 2017

    Will there be an open bar?

    • Alexon Feb 8, 2017

  6. Anonymouson Feb 8, 2017

    Nice idea but I doubt agents from competing agencies would be invited so there’s a hypocrisy here to have it be exclusionary

    • Phil Jon Feb 8, 2017

      You think not inviting agents from CAA is comparable to shutting our borders to war refugees?

    • Anonymouson Feb 8, 2017

      It’s an outdoor event, you don’t need an invitation.

  7. Anonymouson Feb 8, 2017

    What about all the cater-waiters, florists, event crew, etc. who are now being deprived of a work opportunity?

    • Anonymouson Feb 8, 2017

      Super interesting question for a high school plunch room, meanwhile the country is in the hands of a child and some citizens are exerting their right to gather and speak out.

  8. Anonymouson Feb 8, 2017

    Thank you, UTA. This is a great idea.

  9. vbvbvon Feb 8, 2017

    Hey UTA, is everyone invited to your party? Or are you being selective with who can and can not come into your party? I’m going to hold a party for those that aren’t allowed into the us OR the UTA party

    • Phil Jon Feb 8, 2017

      Absolutely. You being a loser who can’t get into an agency party and a refugee who’s home got fire-bombed being turned away are very similar situations. Both true victims.

      • Anonymouson Feb 9, 2017

        Who said I cant get into an agency party? Read my comment again smart guy

  10. Eliaon Feb 8, 2017

    I wonder if an employee of UTA believes that properly vetting refugees from dangerous parts of the world is in fact sensible, and not “anti-immigration,” nor “anti-muslim,” nor “anti-American,” nor “racist,” will said employee be fired, black-balled or at least placed on an internal “watch list?”

    • Whatcha readin’ for?on Feb 8, 2017

      If the employee is dumb enough to think that leaving off the countries that the 9/11 terrorists came from is keeping anyone safe then they deserve to be fired.

  11. Anonymouson Feb 8, 2017

    Uta client Toby Keith should play at this event since he also played at Trump Inauguration

  12. Alexon Feb 8, 2017

    Or are they just using Trump as an excuse to save thousands of dollars on cheap booze and little meatballs? How many stars flock to the UTA party after the show? All those little meatballs ending up in the garbage.

  13. Jeffon Feb 8, 2017

    And how does this rally help UTA clients get more work and better paychecks? This is a noble effort (in some quarters) but a most inappropriate one from the fiduciary responsibility to the client POV. This is show business, not show activism. UTA shouldn’t be wasting their clients time and money by doing this on Oscar weekend when their agents should be out shmoozing, hugging, kissing, and slapping palms. They should do this rally, if at all, on the weekend, and after Oscar weekend at that rate. I would be furious if I were a UTA client. This is not what the business is about, and if you want to make a social difference in the world quit and get to it like Bill Haber, Gerald Levin, Sherry Lansing and others have. But don’t do it when other people are depending on you and paying you top dollar to look after their career. The day only has 24 hours in it, and you can only do so much. Sorry, noble intention but wrong time.

    • Henry Flowerson Feb 9, 2017

      I’m a client and I wholeheartedly support them.

  14. Valerieon Feb 8, 2017

    Must be another bright idea from Jay Sures. Right up there with backing Tim Kaine for VP. That was money raised and time well spent, LOL.

  15. davidon Feb 8, 2017

    Would be putting their money where their mouths are if they cut their staff lunches to match what refugees are given.

  16. one of your clientson Feb 8, 2017

  17. Marieon Feb 8, 2017