Aaron Sorkin has dropped CAA and returned to WME over a critical post of Israel made by its co-chief of the motion pictures department, Maha Dakhil.
“Maha isn’t an antisemite, she’s just wrong. She’s a great agent and I’m very proud of the work we did together over the last six years. I’m excited to be returning to WME,” the prolific scribe told The Hollywood Reporter. The writer behind The Social Network and The West Wing had been repped by WME until a 2017 move over to rival CAA.
Dakhil, whose A-list client roster includes Tom Cruise, Natalie Portman and Reese Witherspoon, came under scrutiny for an Instagram repost that referenced “genocide” on the part of Israel amid a war in Gaza. That post was later deleted and Dakhil apologized for the remarks.
As the repost reverberated in the industry, the agent stepped away from her leadership role in the division for now, as of Oct. 22. Additionally, she’s resigning from CAA’s internal agency board.
“I made a mistake with a repost in my Instagram story, which used hurtful language,” Dakhil said in an Oct. 19 statement. “Like so many of us, I have been reeling with heartbreak. I pride myself on being on the side of humanity and peace. I’m so grateful to Jewish friends and colleagues who pointed out the implications and further educated me. I immediately took the repost down. I’m sorry for the pain I have caused.”
The exit of a top client at the Century City-based agency reflects the polarized social media environment the weeks since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel and the country’s ongoing response in Gaza. Even before the war began, the rise of antisemitic incidents in Los Angeles — the Anti-Defamation League issued a report in March stating that 2022 was a “record-setting” year for incidents of harassment and vandalism in the city — had sparked a broader conversation.
CAA was among the many Hollywood companies that issued statements condemning Hamas, saying on Oct. 10 that it “stands with the people of Israel, the Jewish community and all innocent victims in the face of terrorism.” Studios, including Disney, Paramount and Comcast, also pledged donations to humanitarian efforts in the days following the initial attack.
The agency’s CEO Bryan Lourd and co-chairmen Richard Lovett and Kevin Huvane additionally signed an Oct. 12 open letter, created by the nonprofit organization Creative Community for Peace, that read: “As Israel takes the necessary steps to defend its citizens in the coming days and weeks, social media will be overrun by an orchestrated misinformation campaign spearheaded by Iran. We urge everyone to remember the horrific images that came out of Israel and to not amplify or fall for their propaganda.”
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