Variety will produce its first-ever conference dedicated to examining the scourge of Antisemitism and how Hollywood can work to combat it through inclusive storytelling, thought leadership, and advocacy.
The Variety Hollywood & Antisemitism Summit, presented in partnership with The Margaret & Daniel Loeb Foundation and Shine A Light, will take place on October 18 in Los Angeles. Additional organizations supporting this crucial event include The Ruderman Family Foundation, Starlight Creative, the USC Shoah Foundation, the Holocaust Museum LA, the Anti-Defamation League, and the American Jewish Committee.
The invite-only summit will feature a daylong series of empowering keynote conversations and roundtable discussions featuring writers, showrunners, actors, producers, activists, and scholars.
“The reason we decided to pursue something of this magnitude and scale is simple, yet vital and urgent,” said Claudia Eller, Variety’s Chief Production Officer. “We wanted to encourage candid discussions about Antisemitism, its disgraceful proliferation in the modern era, and how to encourage more thoughtful and accurate representation throughout the industry. Our hope for the day is to bring people together to make change happen.”
The event will kick off with a Keynote Address by SAG-AFTRA President and actor, writer, producer and best-selling author Fran Drescher.
A panel entitled “The State of Antisemitism” will tackle how leaders in media and entertainment can work together to expose and combat anti-Jewish hate. Speakers include Craig Emanuel, veteran entertainment attorney and Ryan Murphy advisor, Alana Newhouse, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tablet, David Kohan, Emmy-winning creator and executive producer of “Will & Grace”, Matti Leshem, producer, and founder of New Mandate Films, and Greg Berlanti, executive producer of hit series such as “You“ and “The Flight Attendant.”
Two Hollywood historians, noted author, journalist, and film critic Neal Gabler, “An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood” and “Mad Men” creator and multi-Emmy winning writer-producer Matthew Weiner will delve into how Jewish leaders built and nurtured the nascent business of entertainment, how Antisemitism impacted Hollywood’s early years, and how the industry can use it’s voice today.
The tricky business of “How to Tell A Joke,” will be the topic discussed by comedians who will analyze how humor can start a healthy conversation and open the door to discourse on the subject of Antisemitism. Panelists include Tiffany Haddish, Ike Barinholtz, Alex Edelman, and Marc Maron.
A social media-focused panel, “Disruption: Changing Perceptions with Social Media,” will examine how digital storytellers can combat hate by delivering content that organically reaches younger audiences. Speakers include Claudia Oshry, “Girl with No Job,” Josh Peck “Good Guys,” Kat Graham, actor and Ellie Zeiler, content creator.
Joel Fields, co-creator of “The Patient” and “The Americans”, Bill Prady, co-creator, “The Big Bang Theory,” David Weil, creator, “Hunters,” “Citadel,” Ilana Wernick, Co-Executive Producer “Mom,” and Allison Josephs, founder and executive director, Jew in the City will participate in a Storytellers Panel exploring entertainment that features Jewish characters and Jewish-centered storylines.
Emmy Award-winning actor Julianna Margulies will engage in a Keynote Conversation with Variety Chief Production Officer Claudia Eller. The two will discuss Margulies’ recent partnership with New York Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, to help create the Holocaust Educator School Partnership. Margulies will also speak about her personal experience of Antisemitism.
Swell Ariel Or, actor, “The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem,” Liel Leibovitz, host, “The Unorthodox Podcast,” Joshua Malina, actor, “Inventing Anna,” and Odeya Rush, actor, “Lady Bird,” will discuss ties between Israel and the entertainment community.
In conjunction with the live event, Variety will publish a robust editorial feature in print, online, and on social media featuring exclusive essays by a variety of contributors including “Kiss” artist Gene Simmons, actor Beanie Feldstein, stand-up comedian/podcaster/writer/actor Marc Maron, video game designer Luc Bernard, actor/author Mayim Bialik, Israeli actress/writer/producer Noa Tishby; Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO, ADL; Rabbi Diana Fersko; Dr. Robert J. Williams, Finci-Viterbi executive director of USC Shoah Foundation; Allison Josephs; AJC CEO Ted Deutch; and veteran music executive Lyor Cohen (interviewed by Variety music editor Jem Aswad) among others.
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