- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A talent agency in Hollywood announced Wednesday it is canceling its annual Oscar party and will instead donate money to refugee relief and to fighting the president’s travel ban impacting seven majority-Muslim nations in court.

In addition to the quarter-million that the United Talent Agency, is donating  to the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Rescue Committee, UTA will host a rally two days before the Academy Awards “to express the creative community’s growing concern with anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States,” reported Variety on Wednesday.

“This is a moment that demands our generosity, awareness, and restlessness,” UTA chief Jeremy Zimmer said in a letter obtained by Variety. “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.”

Asghar Farhadi, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker who could adversely be impacted by the travel ban is said to have thanked the UTA for their stand, Variety reported. The Iranian director has reportedly boycotted the Academy Awards even in the event a personal exemption to the travel ban were to be arranged for his flight to the U.S. for the ceremony.

Last week, two liberal-leaning society magazines announced they were scrapping their traditional festivities centered around the annual White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) dinner, which is scheduled for April 29 and at which the president is expected, per tradition, to deliver humorous remarks.

Neither Vanity Fair nor the New Yorker, however, used their canceled plans as a platform to make a statement on the president’s policies directly.

Cheekily nicknamed #nerdprom on Twitter, the WHCA dinner in recent years has been graced by celebrity appearances, a rare occasion where Hollywood rubs shoulders with Washington.

But according to the Hollywood Reporter, the mood this year is different, particularly given the hostility many in Tinseltown have towards Mr. Trump and the president’s penchant for attacking the mainstream news media.

“It’s going to be a very different event and a very different crowd,” THR quoted Elizabeth Thorp, editor of the digital comedy channel PYPO. “All around town the buzz is, there is no buzz.”

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