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The War In Gaza Opens Cracks In Hollywood: Cancellations, Layoffs & Accusations Of Antisemitism

Kanye West debuted a new song this week in a surprise appearance at a Dubai nightclub. The popular rapper, who was accused of antisemitism back home, traveled halfway across the world to release the song, titled Vultures, in another sign of his fall from grace at the epicenter of the entertainment industry. The hip hop star praised Hitler exactly one year ago in an interview with Alex Jones, a hero of the alt-right. The new song shows that he has not turned the page: “How am I antisemitic? I just fucked a Jewish bitch,” he raps.

The war in Gaza has also impacted the entertainment world, especially Hollywood. Accusations of antisemitism have been exchanged in the American entertainment capital since October 7 and some celebrities are already affected. Susan Sarandon, a left-wing actress who has never bitten her tongue when it comes to voicing her political opinions, was dropped by her talent agency, which had represented her since 2014, on the basis that she allegedly made anti-Jewish comments at a rally in New York to demand a ceasefire.

The co-star of Thelma & Louise who most recently featured in Blue Beetle stated at that rally that many Jews were afraid of living these times in the United States. “There are a lot of people afraid of being Jewish at this time, and are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country, so often subjected to violence,” said the actress. Many considered that Sarandon was justifying acts of antisemitism that have been experienced in recent weeks. This Saturday, the actress attributed her phrase to a “terrible mistake.

This phrasing was a terrible mistake, as it implies that until recently Jews have been strangers to persecution, when the opposite is true,” she wrote in a statement shared on Instagram.

The historian Steven Carr is watching the situation with concern, although he admits that the current tense moments are still far from the darkest days of the Hollywood witch hunt. “The House Un-American Activities Committee of the 1940s and 1950s dragged numerous writers, directors, and stars — many of them Jewish — before Congress to testify against their will and report on friends and colleagues. Those investigations led to an entire system that destroyed careers, forced some to leave the country and even caused some suicides. Turning Hollywood into a target over artists’ personal beliefs is a characteristic of a persecuting political apparatus,” says the Indiana University professor.

Actress and activist Susan Sarandon was arrested for civil disobedience in 1982 for trying to stop the demolition of the Moorish theater on Broadway. In 1999 she was also arrested for demonstrating in a case of police violence.
Actress and activist Susan Sarandon was arrested for civil disobedience in 1982 for trying to stop the demolition of the Moorish theater on Broadway. In 1999 she was also arrested for demonstrating in a case of police violence. GETTY

Carr, author of Hollywood and Anti-Semitism: A Cultural History Up to World War II, believes that recent episodes have revived accusations and suspicion against the Jewish community. “Claiming that Jews are in control of Hollywood has always been an old pretext to target them simply for being who they are. These types of accusations were the cornerstone of Nazism that led to the stripping of all their rights until it led to mass extermination,” the historian points out by email.

A lot of this goes back to the origin of Hollywood. The industry was created by a generation of Jews who arrived from Europe. German-born Carl Laemmle founded Universal Pictures. Hungarian-born Adolph Zukor built what became Paramount. Another son of immigrants from Hungary, William Fox, started the Fox Film Corporation. The Warner Brothers studio was started by the sons of Benjamin Warner, a Polish emigrant who had been, among other jobs, a shoemaker in Baltimore. The most famous movie mogul of that generation was Louis B. Mayer, the great boss of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He was born in Russia and adopted the 4th of July, the day that celebrates the independence of the United States, to celebrate his American rebirth.

What is strikingly similar between these Hollywood Jews is not their common origin in Eastern Europe. What united them was a pronounced and absolute rejection of their past and, equally, an absolute devotion to their new country,” writes Neal Gabler in An Empire of their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, a story of how these men built the foundations of the industry. The author emphasizes that the common denominator of the mentioned characters was their “patrimony of failure.” They had nothing. Their dominance became a target of wave after wave of vicious anti-Semites, from fire-and-brimstone evangelicals in the teens and early 1920s who demanded the movies’ liberation from the ‘hands of the Devil and 500 un-Christian Jews.’”

Allison Josephs, a communicator who fights to change stereotypes about Jews in the United States, believes that the Jewish community must follow the teachings of African-American activism to dismantle unconscious biases. “We need to educate the world about the ideas that are projected onto us. Jews, regardless of their faith or the level of their religious beliefs, love life, peace and seek justice,” says Josephs. One of her projects, the Hollywood Bureau, has been highlighted by publications such as Variety for its battle to overthrow prejudice.

Josephs, who is also behind the blog Jew in the City, highlights how antisemitism has surfaced on social networks. “When people with as many followers as Hollywood celebrities make accusations that Jews are bloodthirsty child killers, it puts them in danger because their enemies believe they deserve it,” he says.

The communicator believes that Hollywood has made it clear that there are already lines that cannot be crossed when it comes to minorities or groups. “When this happens, there are consequences. The pain of Jews matters as much as anyone else’s. Celebrities can say whatever they want except incite violence, but there should be consequences if they say something sexist, racist, homophobic or antisemitic,” she adds.

Melissa Barrera, a 33-year-old Mexican actress, recently learned about these consequences. The artist has been fired from the seventh installment of the Scream franchise after a series of posts on Instagram, where 1.5 million people follow her. Barrera called Israel’s campaign in Gaza genocide and ethnic cleansing. Spyglass, the producer of the horror films, announced the termination, arguing its zero tolerance for antisemitism or inciting hatred in any form.

The actress, who debuted in Hollywood with the series Vida, responded to her dismissal by condemning all types of expressions of hate. “Everyone in the world, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation or socioeconomic level, deserves human rights, dignity and freedom,” he said in a statement. “Silence is not an option for me.”

Melissa Barrera
Melissa Barrera (left) and Jenna Ortega (right), in a scene from ‘Scream 6’.nPhilippe Bossé (AP)

Jonathan Greenblat, one of the leaders of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, openly criticized the Hollywood Writers Guild, the organization that led the recent high-profile screenwriters’ strike, for not condemning Hamas after the attack. “Hollywood quickly supported Black Lives Matter, as it should, the Time’s Up movement and many other causes. There is no excuse for them not to condemn Hamas and demand the release of the hostages,” Greenblat told Variety a few days ago. Meredith Stiehm, one of the leaders of the writers’ union, confessed at the end of October to a group of screenwriters that there was no public position because there was no consensus within the organization.

Sarandon and Barrera are the most visible faces of what is feared to be a new chapter of cancel culture in the United States. The authors Saira Rao and Regina Jackson, activists against racism who charged against Zionism on social media, have also lost their representation. Maha Dakhil, Tom Cruise’s powerful agent, had to leave Creative Artists Agency because of her political views and claims that genocide was being committed in Gaza. Not even the Mission: Impossible star, one of the most influential men in the industry, was able to save his representative in these turbulent times in Hollywood.


Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by ‘Savills’ reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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— By Darren Wilson, Team VoiceOfEU.com

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