Meg Ryan’s Publicist: Ryan Didn’t Boycott Israel

Just days after the Toronto Star published an unequivocal correction making clear that celebrity Bruce “Willis has never boycotted Israel,” Stephen Huvane, the publicist for Hollywood star Meg Ryan, tells CAMERA: “Meg Ryan has not participated in any boycott against Israel.”

The error regarding both Willis and Ryan appeared in a May 6 Toronto Star article about Stephen Hawking’s decision to boycott Israel. Environment reporter Raveena Aulakh erred:

Celebrities from around the world have refused to perform in Israel in recent years as part of an effort to promote the Palestinian cause, including musicians Elvis Costello and Stevie Wonder, and Hollywood actors Bruce Willis and Meg Ryan.

CAMERA’s Snapshots blog first wrote about the Willis error last week, noting reports that Willis and “Expendables 2” co-star Sylvester Stallone, and others, cancelled their planned summer 2012 trip to Israel for the film’s premiere there following the death of Stallone’s son Sage. We also noted that Willis has in the past publicly supported Israel, joining numerous other Hollywood stars in signing a 2006 pro-Israel ad in the Los Angeles Times denouncing Hamas and Hezbollah.
In response to communication to CAMERA, the Toronto Star commendably corrected and public editor Kathy English covered the affair in her May 17 column (“Bruce Willis and the Israel boycott that never was: Public Editor“). She described how the misinformation apparently originated fromt the pro-BDS Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), and noted CAMERA’s role in setting the record straight.
In the wake of the Willis revelation, CAMERA received an anonymous tip that media reports claiming that Meg Ryan also refused to perform in Israel were untrue. It was widely reported in 2010 that Ryan had planned to participate in the Jerusalem Film Festival, but canceled in the wake of the Mavi Marmari incident. Thus, in addition to the Toronto Star article this month referring to Ryan’s alleged refusal to perform in Israel, those that reported the same back in 2010 include The Daily Beast/Newsweek, the JTA and the Jerusalem Post. The JTA reported, for instance:

The most recent high-profile cancellation, by Ryan, came right after Israel’s deadly May 31 interception of the Gaza-bound, Turkish-flagged aid flotilla, which left nine passengers dead. A day later, Ryan’s staff e-mailed the Jerusalem Film Festival to say she would not be able to attend. Reports that actor Dustin Hoffman also canceled an appearance at the festival were unfounded; Hoffman had never been scheduled to attend the event.

But in an email to CAMERA, Stephen Huvane, a founder of Slate PR and Meg Ryan’s publicist, said “That report is untrue. Meg Ryan never participated in any boycott against Israel.” In a follow up email, CAMERA asked Mr. Huvane: “Had she scheduled a 2010 trip to Israel to participate in the Jerusalem Film Festival? If so, what was the cause for the cancellation?”
Mr. Huvane, of Slate PR, responded: “I am her publicist and I am not aware of her committing to the Jerusalem Film Festival. She may have been invited although I dont have record of that but we never committed to attending.”
CAMERA has contacted the Toronto Star and the Jerusalem Post to request corrections clarifying that Meg Ryan has not refused to perform in Israel, and has not participated in a boycott of Israel. We are in the process of contacting additional media outlets as well.
In addition, we informed the Star that the claim that Stevie Wonder had “refused to perform in Israel” is also inaccurate. In fact, as reported for instance in New York Times and Reuters, Mr. Wonder backed out of a Friends of the Israel Defence Forces benefit concert in Los Angeles.

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