President Obama Holds Secret Meet-and-Greet With Hollywood Execs and Influencers (Exclusive)
UPDATED: Among those attending the morning gathering at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel were studio head Harvey Weinstein, UTA's Rob Prinz, CAA managing partner and music head Rob Light, and ICM's Chris Silbermann.
Before he left Los Angeles for San Francisco on Tuesday, President Barack Obama stopped for an undisclosed meeting with some of the entertainment industry's high-level executives, as well as talent representatives with access to the industry's top stars and musical acts, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Among the small group of industry insiders who were invited to attended the early-morning meeting with the president at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel were: Weinstein Co. studio head Harvey Weinstein, CAA managing partner and music head Rob Light, ICM president Chris Silbermann, Modern Family creator Steve Levitan, Atlantic Records chairman Craig Kallman, producer/songwriter Bruce Roberts, talent manger and producer Jason Weinberg, UTA music agent Rob Prinz, talent manager and producer Eric Ortner, Island Def Jam senior vice president Karen Kwak, Warner Bros. Records president Livia Tortella, talent manager Greg Mertz, ID PR publicists Kelly Bush and Mara Buxbaum, talent managers Bruce Flohr, Michael Green, Steve Moir and Bill Silva, Universial Music Publishing Group executive vice president and head of creative Tom Sturges, entertainment attorney Chuck Ortner and actor/activist Kal Penn.
The event was not a fundraiser, and attendees were not asked to donate to the Obama reelection campaign. But those invited have been ardent supporters of the president and were identified as "influencers" with the ability to help Obama shape the national political conversation heading into a tough race in 2012.
An insider who attended the hour-long meeting with the Obama campaign staff tells THR that the vibe was casual. The president appeared for about 25 to 30 minutes, telling the group that his campaign would be tough and he needed their help to engage the Hollywood community in particular and the general public at large.
The meeting comes at a time when Obama seems to be grappling with how close his campaign should align itself with the entertainment industry. The president has recently returned to Los Angeles twice for star-studded fundraisers, and the campaign clearly knows that the executives invited to the meeting can deliver singers and other stars who often provide the entertainment at major campaign events.
At the very least, it sounds like the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, next year will have a great soundtrack.
Email: TinaDaunt@gmail.com, Matthew.Belloni@thr.com