Celebrities call for ceasefire, events canceled amid Israel-Hamas war – USA TODAY

The entertainment industry is speaking out about the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which was sparked by Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
Hundreds of stars have taken a stance by signing open letters, including one denouncing Hamas’ “barbaric acts of terrorism” as well as one calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel. Over the past month, the death toll has surpassed 11,000 – more than 10,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, and 1,400 Israelis.
Hollywood events have also been impacted, as the Academy Museum Gala postponed its annual fundraiser, and a red carpet for the upcoming Sofia Coppola film “Priscilla” was canceled in October.
Here’s how the entertainment industry has responded to the war in the Middle East.
R&B singer/songwriter Summer Walker took to Instagram on Nov. 7 to share her stance on the conflict with her 6 million followers.
“The genocide and execution of innocent lives, those of children, women, men and elders in Palestine and Gaza needs to stop,” the “Girls Need Love” singer wrote in the seven-slide text post.
The next slide reads: “As an artist – a black woman artist, who is not the most versed in global politics, I (didn’t) quite know where my position or voice was needed, however, I can no longer stand by and watch as thousands of children and innocent civilians are targeted under the mask and propaganda of combating terrorism.”
“Agreeing that innocent humans deserve not to be slaughtered and deserve a safe prosperous life should not be political,” she added and ended her letter with, “Cease fire. Free Palestine. End this genocide. Free all people.”
A week after Selena Gomez announced she would be taking a social media hiatus due to “the horror, hate, violence and terror that’s going on in the world,” her cosmetics company, Rare Beauty, released its own statement on Instagram.
The Nov. 6 post, which reads “humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” includes a lengthy caption detailing the company’s stance toward the civilian impact of the Israel-Hamas war and vowing to donate to several organizations.
“Thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes & millions of civilians have been displaced & left without access to food, water, medicine, or basic necessities for survival. A large number of these victims are children. Palestinian civilians must be protected, period,” the caption reads, in part.
“We remain heartbroken by the horrible terror attack against innocent civilians in Israel on October 7th, many of them also children,” the caption says. “There is no situation where attacks on civilians are acceptable. We strongly denounce any & all forms of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.”
In addition to encouraging followers to support groups providing aid in the Middle East and reach out to mental health resources if needed, Rare Beauty is committed to donating to a humanitarian organization working with Israelis as well as one that is dedicated to Palestinians.
The company says it will donate to Magen David Adom, the Israeli Red Cross organization, the Palestine Red Crescent Society, which is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and UNICEF.
A growing number of actors, comedians and musicians have called for a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel in an open letter to President Joe Biden.
Drake, Jennifer Lopez, Bella and Gigi Hadid, Zayn Malik, Frank Ocean, Rachel McAdams, Oscar Isaac, Bradley Cooper, David Oyelowo, Ben Affleck, Kristen Stewart, Channing Tatum, Quinta Brunson, Sandra Oh and Joaquin Phoenix, among many others, signed the letter requesting an end to the “devastating loss of lives and unfolding horrors” in Israel and Gaza.
“We ask that, as President of the United States, you call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost,” the letter, published by the Artists 4 Ceasefire organization, reads. “We believe all life is sacred, no matter faith or ethnicity and we condemn the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians.”
The group called on the Biden administration and all world leaders to “honor all of the lives in the Holy Land” by calling for a ceasefire, an end to the bombings in Gaza and the release of hostages.
“Beyond our pain and mourning for all of the people there and their loved ones around the world we are motivated by an unbending will to stand for our common humanity,” the letter concludes. “We refuse to tell future generations the story of our silence, that we stood by and did nothing.”
Taylor Swift‘Eras Tour’ bodyguard fights in Israel-Hamas war
The MTV Europe Music Awards on Oct. 19 canceled its performance-packed ceremony, citing the Israel-Hamas War.
The event had been scheduled for Paris on Nov. 5, with Ozuna, Renée Rapp and Thirty Seconds to Mars among the performers.
“The MTV EMAs are an annual celebration of global music. As we watch the devastating events in Israel and Gaza continue to unfold, this does not feel like a moment for a global celebration. With thousands of lives already lost, it is a moment of mourning,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
The statement also said the decision was made “out of an abundance of caution for the thousands of employees, crew members, artists, fans, and partners who travel from all corners of the world to bring the show to life.”
MTV said the EMAs would return in November 2024.
‘Horrific’:Gal Gadot, Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian support Israel amid Palestinian conflict
Singer Kehlani posted on Instagram on Oct. 18 that she’d signed a letter titled “Artists Against Apartheid,” which encourages “artists and cultural workers” to “stand in solidarity with those resisting occupation and fighting for their right to self-determination.”
“As artists and cultural producers, our work has the power to shape public opinion. Today, as the media wages a war against truth and strips this conflict of its historical context, we have a unique responsibility to use our voice and artistic practices to say NO MORE!” Kehlani’s caption reads. “Now is the time to protest apartheid and amplify the just cause of the Palestinian people and their resistance against 75 years of occupation.”
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters and poet Aja Monet are also among those who signed the letter.
Oscar-winning British actor and rapper Riz Ahmed called for the end of the “indiscriminate bombing of Gaza’s civilians and vital infrastructure, the denial of food, water, and electricity, and the forced displacement of people from their homes” on his social media platforms.
“These are indefensible war crimes,” he continued. “We need to put ourselves in the shoes of the people of Gaza, now, before we all walk past the point of no return.”
The “Sound of Metal” actor also denounced the actions of Hamas, calling the attack “horrific and wrong.”
Pink, who is currently on the North American leg of her Summer Carnival tour, claimed in an X post that she has received “many threats” from people who mistook Poi flags displayed at her live shows for Israeli flags. The singer clarified that the flags “were used many, many years ago by the Māori people in New Zealand and because they and the Māori people are beautiful to me, we use them.”
“I have been using Poi flags since the beginning of this tour,” she said. “I do not fly flags in my show in support of anything or anyone except the rainbow flag. That will remain my position.”
She continued, “I am a human. I believe in peace. Equality. Love. I am deeply saddened by the state of the world. I pray for all of us.”
The war has caused reverberations in Hollywood, too.
On Oct. 12, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles announced the red carpet for its annual fundraising gala on Oct. 14 would be canceled “out of respect for the devastating conflict and loss of life happening overseas.”
“The Academy Museum condemns all forms of hate and cruelty and stands in support of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives affected by the ongoing violence,” the museum’s statement read. The event has been rescheduled for Dec. 3, according to Variety and Deadline.
Meryl StreepOprah Winfrey, Michael B. Jordan and Sofia Coppola are set to be honored at the gala.
Gal Gadot, Jamie Lee Curtis among700 entertainers denouncing Hamas’ terrorism in open letter
Similarly, the red-carpet premiere for the Sofia Coppola film “Priscilla,” which is based on the ups and downs of Elvis and Priscilla Presley‘s relationship, was canceled in response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, A24 Films confirmed to USA TODAY in an email.
“Out of respect for the events going on in the world, we will be forgoing a red carpet for the ‘Priscilla’ Los Angeles premiere,” the studio said in an email to the press.
One of the world’s most enduring and intractable conflicts connects to a century of competing claims to land, borders and rights in a region of deep historical and religious significance.
The United Nations in 1947 tried to divide the-then British Mandate of Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states. A year later, when the state of Israel was created, the first Arab-Israeli War broke out. Ever since Israel’s victory and following several other wars, Palestinians have gradually been displaced from territory that they also see as their rightful homeland.
Hamas launched a shocking attack against Israel – including the Nova music festival located a few miles from the Gaza Strip, where Hamas gunmen killed more than 260 revelers in the biggest civilian massacre in Israeli history, according to the Associated Press – on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah. Around 1,400 Israelis were killed and countless people were injured, leading to retaliation by Israeli forces waging battle on the ground and with airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.
More than 200 hostages seized during the incursion are still being held by Hamas.
Hamas’ offensive is connected not only to specific Israeli military activity but to what the group views as a decades-long campaign to rob Palestinians of their land and displace them by force. For years, the group has vowed to annihilate the state of Israel and claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks. 
The war, which is the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides, has put millions of lives at risk as attacks have intensified day by day with hospitals and homes destroyed and some civilians held hostage. More than 10,000 Palestinians – including 4,100 children and 2,640 women – have been killed in the war, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
As war wages on in Gaza,updated maps and graphics show latest in Hamas, Israel conflict
Contributing: John Bacon, Kim Hjelmgaard, Phillip M. Bailey, Josh Meyer, Sudiksha Kochi, Francesca Chambers, Clare Mulroy and Edward Segarra, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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