In presenting a clip from “La La Land” at the 28th annual Producers Guild of America Awards, the film’s star, John Legend, took a moment to address Donald Trump’s controversial executive order barring U.S. entry to citizens from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
“Los Angeles is the home of so many immigrants, so many creative people, so many dreamers, and those of us who work in this business have the privilege of shaping how the rest of the world perceives this country we love,” Legend said. “We are the voice, we are the face of America. Our America is big, it is free, and it is open to dreamers of all races, all countries, all religions. Our vision of America is directly antithetical to that of President Trump. I want to specifically tonight reject his vision and affirm that America has to be better than that.”
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Citing protests being held at airports all across the country, including Los Angeles International Airport, Legend said he and wife Chrissy Teigen were conflicted about attending.
“But we came here tonight, and we also wanted to put our money where our mouth is. We made a donation to the ACLU and other organizations who are committed to fighting for freedom in the land of the free,” he said, before calling on the film community present to rally: “There’s a lot of money and power in this room and I hope you all will use it for something good. Let’s all continue to stand up together for what is right.”
Earlier in the evening, producer Mark Burnett — creator of “The Apprentice” who helped make Trump a television star — met with a chilly response and even some boos from the crowd. And producer Megan Ellison had similar sentiments to Legend’s in accepting the organization’s Visionary Award. “This is my first job, and it will be a lifelong crusade for me,” she said. “I do this because it’s the best way I know to effect change … The scariest thing we could do now is shut up. A lot of people in this room control the gold, so let’s make new rules.”
Two federal judges, in New York and Virginia, stayed deportations with emergency rulings in cases argued by the ACLU following Trump’s ban.
Earlier, it was reported that Oscar-nominated Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (“The Salesman”) would not be able to attend the 89th Academy Awards next month due to the ban. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in turn released a statement calling the situation “extremely troubling.”
Dave McNary contributed to this report.