Endeavor and TKO Group Holdings CEO Ari Emanuel appeared at Bloomberg’s Screentime conference to talk business, but it was impossible to ignore the story dominating geopolitics.
Emanuel was asked by Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw for his thoughts on the attacks in Israel, given his status as one of the most high-profile Jewish executives in the US, and he didn’t hold back.
“It’s not the same as September 11, but I had the same feeling,” Emanuel said, noting that his grandmother had escaped the Bolsheviks. “As a Jew, what happened in Israel last weekend was one of the worst pogroms in history, not counting the Holocaust.”
Emanuel called the Hamas attacks “heinous” and Hamas and Hezbollah “terrorists,” but he also criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the politician “morally corrupt.”
“In my opinion, a morally corrupt Bibi Netanyahu has exposed Israel and its people to rape, death, beheading of children, murder of fathers, mothers and grandmothers. And he did it to stay in power,” Emanuel said. “I don’t think this man deserves to be in power.”
But Emanuel also spoke about the state of Hollywood, where he criticized Endeavor’s competition at CAA, confirmed that his company had offered a minority stake in the PGA Tour, and suggested that Paramount and Fox would have a tough few years ahead :
“I think things are going well with YouTube and Google. I think Microsoft will do well. I think Netflix will do well. I think Comcast, you know $40 billion in free cash flow? Pretty good,” said Emanuel, when asked to estimate what awaits companies in the next five years. “I think Zas (David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery) has figured it out. He went through a tough year where he got killed, but now he’s profitable. Bob is experiencing it now (Disney CEO Bob Iger). He is a very good director. He will figure it out.”
“I wouldn’t put my money on Paramount,” he continued. “I think there are going to be tough times at Fox just because the population is getting older and, I don’t know, you have family issues,” referring to Rupert Murdoch’s decision to resign, and the possibility of a Succession-like drama for the company when he dies.
And he also discussed the recent lawsuit against CAA, in which the agency was accused of being complicit in Harvey Weinstein’s crimes.
“Seven different officers were aware of various incidents involving women. “When they took over, they decided ‘we were going to look the other way’… and that’s why they got charged,” Emanuel said. “You’re in a situation where Kevin (Huvane) and Brian (Lourd) are to Harvey Weinstein as (Ghislaine) Maxwell was to Jeffrey Epstein. They led them to this man.”
Emanuel said CAA should hire an outside person to investigate the claims, and that CAA leadership should take a leave of absence. “And investigators need to come in and look at what they did,” he added. “They haven’t apologized. They didn’t deny it. They didn’t. So from my perspective it’s terrible.”
Emanuel also said the extended strikes in Hollywood were “frustrating.”
“I mean, just lock the door. And if you’re bargaining, take half a loaf,” he said. “Making a deal. It’s not that difficult. We all have to work.”
“You don’t have to solve every problem now. You do not do that. You can do the best you can at that moment,” he continued. “Get a room, lock the door, say okay, you know, it’s not exactly what I want, but it affects a lot of people and a lot of people are hurting.” And in this day and age it is not the last time you will sit at the table. You won’t win an Oscar for these negotiations.”