American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO Ted Deutch and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff met with leading executives and agents in the entertainment industry and urged them to use their voices and influence to help stem the tide of rising antisemitism.

Deutch and Emhoff spoke at a roundtable on Thursday hosted by leading entertainment and talent agency, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which represents the world’s leading actors, directors, writers, producers, musical artists, comedians, authors, athletes, coaches, broadcasters, sports teams and leagues, fashion talent, consumer brands, and more.

“From the sound stages to the board rooms, we know there are many in the entertainment industry who are committed to taking on antisemitism and other forms of bigotry,” Deutch said. “At the same time, we need more allies. Entertainers and athletes have significant influence. Their words and deeds can resonate with millions of fans and followers across the globe.”

The roundtable follows the recent release of AJC’s latest State of Antisemitism in America report, which found that 41% of American Jews feel less secure about their status than they did a year ago—a 10 percentage-point increase. It also found nine in 10 American Jews believe antisemitism is a problem in the U.S., and 82% believe it has worsened in the last five years.

Deutch and Emhoff, the first Jewish spouse of an American president or vice president, were hosted by CAA Co-Chairman Richard Lovett.

“Simply put, antisemitism is Jew hate. We have a collective responsibility to fight against all forms of prejudice, oppression, and hatred against communities because of their race, culture, sexual identity, ethnicity, or religion,” Lovett said. “We know the power and impact of storytelling, and the entertainment and sports communities, with their unparalleled ability to reach into homes around the globe, can play a vital role in this fight.”

AJC last year issued a comprehensive Call to Action Against Antisemitism, which shows various sectors in society how to understand, respond to and prevent antisemitism.

In terms of understanding, Deutch said it was important for the entertainment industry to realize that Jews come from diverse backgrounds, not just Europe. Indeed, 15% of American Jews identify as persons of color, which Deutch said could also be reflected in artists and performers who are hired and the stories they tell. He also noted it was essential that Jews not be held to different standards than other ethnic groups.

“Jews today are collectively assailed for having too much power. Much of antisemitism rests on that conspiracy theory,” Deutch said. “That’s what makes antisemitism different from other forms of hate. Companies need to have a plan in place that can quickly respond to all forms of antisemitism, including when Jews are attacked because of that perceived power. Make sure Jewish employees are seen and heard and have communication channels available to adequately address their concerns.”

Back to Top