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Melissa Barrera
Melissa Barrera
Melissa Barrera

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Over 1,300 Artists Sign Letter Condemning Censorship Over Palestine Advocacy

NOTE: This article is 3 months old and may not include the most recent information.

A letter condemning censorship against speaking out on Palestine was published this week by over 1,300 actors, artists, and creative professionals. The letter, released by Artists for Palestine UK, accuses many cultural institutions of “systematically repressing, silencing and stigmatising Palestinian voices and perspectives.”

Among the signatories are Oscar-winner Olivia Colman, Harriet Walter, Aimee Lou Wood, Nicola Coughlan, and Emma Seligman. The letter cites several recent examples of what it claims is censorship, including the firing of Scream VII star Melissa Barrera over her social media posts about Gaza. Barrera’s firing sparked controversy, with the letter stating: “Despite this pressure, artists in their thousands are following their conscience and continuing to speak out.”

The letter argues freedom of expression is fundamental to democracy and the creative arts. It calls upon the culture sector to take several actions, including demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, amplifying Palestinian artists, and refusing to work with institutions complicit in human rights violations.

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“To stay silent in the face of mass injustice and worsening humanitarian crisis would be an abrogation of moral duty,” the letter states. “To actively silence the principled artists and workers who do fulfil this responsibility is a failure to meet legal obligations on freedom of expression and anti-discrimination.”

The letter and its impressive list of signatories show a growing willingness among artists to speak out on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite the potential career risks. While some view the issues as too controversial, the letter argues moral duty compels creatives to use their platforms to draw attention to humanitarian crises like Gaza. This public debate shows no sign of cooling as more artists add their voices.

Trevor Decker
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