By United Talent Agency, Special for USDR
The creative community turned out in force today at the top of Oscar weekend to stand together to express support for freedom of speech and artistic expression and to speak out against policies of exclusion and division.
“As the Oscars draw the world’s attention to our country and our community, we must raise our voices loud and clear: The politics of fear and division do not reflect who we are as a nation, and united we can do better,” said Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of United Talent Agency, which organized the gathering outside its Los Angeles headquarters after scrapping plans for a traditional Oscar party.
Featured speakers at the event included California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Jodie Foster, Michael J. Fox, Reza Aslan, Keegan-Michael Key and Wilmer Valderrama. The gathering also featured live performances by DJ Cassidy, painter David Garibaldi, singer Ben Harper, Sam and Casey Harris of X Ambassadors, who debuted an original song—Hoping—which will benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.
Also addressing the crowd were International Rescue Committee President and CEO David Miliband and American Civil Liberties Union executive Hector Villagra. The two organizations are the recipients of a $250,000 donation from UTA, as well as an additional $70,000 raised through the agency’s online CrowdRise campaign.
A surprise highlight of the rally was taped remarks from Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, a UTA client. Nominated for his film “The Salesman,” Farhadi made headlines around the world after announcing he would not travel to Los Angeles for the Oscars ceremony in protest of the proposed U.S. ban on travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. “I am grateful to the civility of my fellow filmmakers and the UTA family who have reacted responsibly to discrimination and injustice,” said Farhadi, in his first public appearance since his travel announcement. “Filmmakers can break stereotypes around the world by turning their cameras to capture shared human qualities.”
Other artists turning out to show their support, included Ike Barinholtz, John Cho, Jai Courtney, Jamie Dornan, Megan Mullally, Bill Nye, Nick Offerman, Aaron Paul, Josh Radnor, Emily Ratajkowski, Retta, Timothy Simons and Kristen Wiig.
ABOUT UNITED TALENT AGENCY
United Talent Agency is a premier global talent and literary agency representing many of the world’s most acclaimed figures in every current and emerging area of entertainment and media, including motion pictures, television, digital, broadcast news, legit theater, video games, books, music, and live entertainment. The agency is also globally recognized in the areas of film finance, film packaging, branding, licensing, endorsements and representation of production talent. UTA additionally provides corporate consulting, venture funding and strategic advisory services to companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. UTA operates the brand strategy agency UTA Brand Studio and owns market-leading broadcast news agency Bienstock.
SOURCE United Talent Agency