Since the attack by the militant group Hamas on October 7 in Israel, there have been a reported 26,000 Palestinian deaths in Gaza and the West Bank and 1,200 deaths in Israel. Palestinians are currently without food, water or electricity—leaving many doctors treating Palestinians without anesthesia or the proper materials. With social media posts documenting the violence in Gaza, many have taken to these platforms to show their support for the Free Palestine movement. Many in the Latinx community including celebrities—whom have signed the Artists4Ceasefire letter asking for President Joe Biden and U.S. Congress to call a ceasefire— have been outspoken about their support for the Palestinian people. Mexican actress Melissa Barrera (Vida, In the Heights) is among the vocal supporters and has publicly faced backlash as a result. Now Variety is reporting that talent agency WME and her management company Sugar23 considered dropping her following social media posts calling for donations for an organization supporting Palestinian refugees that’s currently facing some controversy. The news follows her firing from Scream VII in response to her social posts in support of the Free Palestine movement.
Barrera recently posted on Instagram a fundraiser for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The fundraiser “in honor of all the martyrs in Gaza and the West Bank”, reportedly led to heated debates about possibly firing the actress. The UNRWA—a major contributor to the humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza—has recently undergone a pause in their funding including the United States, its biggest donor, following allegations from the Israeli government that a dozen UNRWA employees had involvement in the Hamas attacks. The United Nations released a statement announcing that of the 12 implicated, nine had been fired, one had been confirmed dead, and two had their identity being clarified. Barrera had made her fundraiser after the U.S. announced its pause on UNRWA funding. She stated on her Instagram story, “Guess it’s always up to the people. Made a fundraiser with @unrwa, donate what you can and share ❤️.” The fundraiser currently stands at over $74,000 in donations.
Variety initially reported that WME consulted with outside advisors on the best approach to fire her but a WME rep denied that outside advisors were enlisted. Both WME and Sugar23 declined to comment. Barrera’s last in-feed post on the matter was 14 weeks ago when she shared the Artists4Ceasefire letter writing: “We come together as artists and advocates, but most importantly as human beings witnessing the devastating loss of lives and unfolding horrors in Palestine and Israel.”
She is currently promoting her latest project, Your Monster, described as “a romantic-comedy-horror film about falling in love with your inner rage.”