A Fired ‘Scream’ Star, Clients Booted From Agencies and a Secret Tom Cruise Meeting: Inside Hollywood’s Divide Over Israel
21.11.2023 - 21:55
Tatiana Siegel Four days after the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks in Israel, WME invited Steve Leder, the rabbi from Wilshire Boulevard Temple, to visit the agency’s Beverly Hills headquarters. He came to provide comfort for employees reeling after the worst attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust.
Although the event was not mandatory and Leder’s speech was considered secular, several staffers voiced complaints, which made their way to WME co-chairmen Richard Weitz and Christian Muirhead. Instead of caving, WME invited Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to speak to the agency on Nov. 1.
Greenblatt didn’t mince words, according to those in attendance, calling out the Writers Guild of America for refusing to issue a statement after the Hamas attacks. Across town, the agency’s fiercest rival, CAA, was dealing with a crisis. Maha Dakhil, one of its top agents, had ignited a firestorm with her Instagram posts, including one that said, “What’s more heartbreaking than witnessing genocide? Witnessing the denial that genocide is happening.” In response, Dakhil was relieved of her duties as co-chief the motion pictures department, though she was allowed to remain an agent.
It didn’t hurt that her most important client, Tom Cruise, made it known that to CAA that he was backing her. Cruise met with Dakhil at her CAA office on Nov. 15.
A knowledgeable source says he took the rare step of going in person to show support for his embattled agent. But the Dakhil issue didn’t end there. A group of CAA assistants threatened to walk out over the agency’s treatment of her, sources say.
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