Maha Dakhil, a top Hollywood agent known for representing stars such as Tom Cruise and Reese Witherspoon, has elected to step down from her leadership roles after facing backlash for calling the Israel-Hamas war a "genocide" on social media.
Dakhil, who co-heads the motion picture department at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), has worked with high-profile celebrities including Natalie Portman, Ava DuVernay, and Anne Hathaway. However, her recent controversial posts sparked outrage and led to action being taken against her.
The issue began when Dakhil re-shared a post on Instagram that read, "You're learning who supports genocide." She also added a personal comment saying, "That's the line for me." Shortly after, she shared another post with a caption stating, "What's more heartbreaking than witnessing genocide? Witnessing the denial that genocide is happening."
The posts were met with backlash and criticism, with many accusing Dakhil of spreading misinformation and using insensitive language. Many also pointed out that her words were hurtful to both the Jewish community and the Palestinian people.
In response to the backlash, Dakhil deleted the posts and issued an apology to Variety, saying, "I made a mistake with a repost in my Instagram Story, which used hurtful language. Like so many of us, I have been reeling with heartbreak. I pride myself on being on the side of humanity and peace."
She continued, "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."
Despite her apology, CAA confirmed that Dakhil would be stepping down from her internal board position and temporarily giving up her role as co-head of the motion picture department. However, she will continue working with her current clients at CAA.
The talent agency also released a statement on Instagram, supporting Israel and condemning acts of terrorism. "CAA stands with the people of Israel, the Jewish community, and all innocent victims in the face of horrific acts of terrorism," the statement read. "For those with family, friends, or loved ones living in or connected to Israel and the region, our thoughts are with you. We wish for peace for all people."
Dakhil also shared a message on Instagram, further clarifying her position and expressing her grief for all innocent lives affected by the conflict. "Choice of words is important. Dialogue is healing," she wrote. "As each excruciating day passes, I'm listening and learning more from my friends. Thank you."
The ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas has been raging for weeks, leading to the loss of hundreds of lives and widespread devastation. While the situation remains tense, the hope for peace and an end to the violence continues.