Kanye West and former Netflix CMO Bozoma St. John at a screening ofjeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy
in February 2022. (Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Netflix)
Never say Hollywood doesn’t wait to see which way the wind is blowing before taking action. In the wake of a weekend of alarming antisemitic events around Los Angeles, with at least one directly correlated to Kanye West’s recent remarks, the town lumbered into action 16 days after the rapper/fashion mogul first Tweeted, “go death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE”, a sentiment he echoed in other interviews and media.
“Hollywood has responded very slowly to Kanye,” said Steven Ross, a USC historian and author of Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America, speaking to The Ankler moments after news broke that CAA had dropped West as a client. “Ask yourself if a major star would have made similarly vicious remarks about African-Americans how fast would people have acted? Antisemitism always seems to take a little longer because Jews are seen as being white and not as an embattled community.”
CAA, which represented West since 2016, was but the latest Hollywood institution to sever ties with the singer. Over the weekend, West’s calls for violence began to manifest IRL across swaths of Los Angeles. On Saturday, an antisemitic and white supremacist group unfurled banners over the 405, one of which read “Kanye is right about the Jews” while antisemitic fliers targeting Disney’s leadership were distributed in mailboxes on the city’s Westside and at The Grove. All of this has prompted some serious soul searching within the entertainment industry. As of last week, a faction within CAA was growing increasingly upset that the agency hadn’t already parted ways with the artist, who had been dropped by Balenciaga and is being sued by George Floyd’s family for saying suggesting in an interview that Floyd was not killed by Minneapolis police officers but rather by a batch of Fentanyl. On Monday MRC announced that it was shelving a completed documentary focused on West.
Interestingly, one place that isn’t canceling Kanye is Netflix, whose platform earlier this year bought, for $30 million, a three-part documentary series about West, Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy. The Ankler has learned that the platform has no plans to remove the doc as West is the subject, not the filmmaker (though it does feature his own home movies and footage). The streamer has no business relationship with him and no other projects in the works. It’s worth noting that the company’s policy follows similar actions around House of Cards following accusations around star Kevin Spacey, and Dave Chapelle, following outrage over his comments around transgenderism in one of his shows.
Not since Mel Gibson’s 2006 Pacific Coast Highway rant has the industry been roiled by such overt antisemitism from within its own ranks. According to Ross, West’s comments are worse than Gibson’s because he seems to be calling for actual violence. “Kanye has made these types of comments in the past and was dismissed due to questions over his mental health,” he says. “Well that doesn’t matter. You are responsible for what you say and you are responsible for the action that comes as a result of your hate.” - P.K. and R.R.
From left: VP of Prime Video U.S. Albert Cheng, now-consultant Sue Kroll, Chloë Grace Moretz and Amazon Studios Head of Television Vernon Sanders at an event for Prime Video seriesThe Peripheral
on October 11. (Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images)
Last month, The Ankler’s Tatiana Siegel reported that Sue Kroll had begun conversations at Amazon Studios to officially become its new marketing chief for Amazon Studios and Prime Video. Now, The Ankler hears that Kroll, the former marketing maven at Warner Bros., is currently finalizing a deal for that role.