The fighting in Gaza may have stopped for now, but acting couple Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem are still feeling the heat after they condemned Israel’s military strikes as “genocide.”
Their antagonizing words – and subsequent attempts to clarify their position and offer support for the Jewish people – have been less than receptive among fellow celebrities and Hollywood producers.
In a strongly worded letter, actor Jon Voight said Cruz, 40, and Bardem, 49, should “hang their heads in shame,” while Hollywood exec Ryan Kavanaugh said the letter signed by the couple and 100 other artists and filmmakers – including director Pedro Almodovar – “makes his blood boil.”
And even though they have been one of Hollywood's hottest couples, some believe their careers could suffer from the backlash because movie executives in Tinsel Town tend to be strong supporters of Israel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The publication spoke with many of the top players in Hollywood, and while most – except Relativity Media’s Kavanaugh – declined to speak on the record, the sentiment was among the powers that be: they are not happy with the Spanish couple.
“One says he’s ‘furious with Javier and Penelope’ – and (they) questioned whether they would want to work the couple again,” THR wrote.
One top producer who has worked with the “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” actress told THR privately that he was vowed never to hire her again.
That said, many throughout Hollywood believe it is unlikely for the careers of celebrities who have spoken out against Israel – like Rihanna, who tweeted #FreePalestine or Selena Gomez who posted “Pray for Gaza” on Instagram – to suffer because their political views differ from those of executives.
As for Cruz and Bardem, their letter might not hurt them as much, because it did not reach the “Mel Gibson threshold,” as one executive told THR. This refers to when the actor was caught making virulent anti-Semitic remarks in 2010 and was subsequently marginalized and faced widespread backlash.
Or as another producer told THR: “I think the thing any executive or producer will try to calculate before working with Penelope Cruz or Javier Bardem in the near future is what their value is in the all-important international marketplace. And what territories they might have alienated people in by what they said. It might not be that many. But it’s really all about business.”