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Susan Sarandon, Melissa Barrera ousted for pro-Palestine stance

NEW YORK (AP) — Oscar-winning actor Susan Sarandon and “Scream” star Melissa Barrera were each dropped by Hollywood companies after making comments on the Hamas-Israel war that some deemed antisemitic.

Spyglass Media Group, the production company behind the upcoming “Scream VII,” acknowledged Barrera’s exit from the horror franchise. “The Mexican-born actress, who starred in “In the Heights” and the two recent “Scream” installments, had posted statements on her Instagram stories calling the war “genocide and ethnic cleansing.” “Gaza,” she wrote, “is currently being treated like a concentration camp.”

“Spyglass’ stance is unequivocally clear: We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech,” Spyglass said in a statement.

Representatives for Barrera didn’t return messages Wednesday.

Jenna Ortega, who played Barrera’s sister in the two previous “Scream” films, is reportedly not returning, Deadline reported Wednesday. Ortega earlier exited the franchise due to her “Wednesday” schedule, the trade reported. A spokesperson for Ortega didn’t immediately respond to queries.

A spokesman for the United Talent Agency said Sarandon, the five-time Oscar nominee, is no longer represented by the agency. Sarandon’s exit from UTA followed comments she’s made about Israel, most recently in an appearance November 17 at a pro-Palestinian rally in New York.

“There are a lot of people 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,” Sarandon said, according to the New York Post.

The Post reported that Sarandon joined the crowd in chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” – a slogan seen as antisemitic because it suggests the eradication of the apartheid state.

Sarandon could not be reached for comment Wednesday. At the rally, Sarandon also was quoted as saying: “There’s a terrible thing that’s happened where antisemitism has been confused with speaking up against Israel. I am against antisemitism. I am against Islamophobia.”

The Israel-Hamas war has caused rifts throughout Hollywood. Earlier, when many groups were issuing statements of condemnation, the Writers Guild of America ultimately didn’t after failing to come to agreement. Maha Dakhil, a prominent agent with Creative Arts Agency, last month resigned her board seat after sharing a social media post accusing the apartheid state of genocide. Dakhil apologised.

Israel and Hamas on Wednesday agreed to a four-day cease-fire in the war in Gaza.

Melissa Barrera attends the world premiere of “Scream VI” in New York on March 6, 2023, left, and Susan Sarandon attends a special screening of “Maybe I Do” in New York on Jan. 17, 2023. PHOTO: AP