This story first appeared in the March 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Hollywood executives confused about where to direct their philanthropic and political energies now have a superteam of political consultants to call. Principal Communications’ Paul Pflug and Melissa Zukerman and Sky Advisory’s Lindsay Rachelefsky have formed a strategic partnership during a time of nearly unprecedented turnover among established professional advisers to deep-pocketed industry liberals.
Andy Spahn, who advises Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg, essentially has been the last man standing among the top tier of Democratic consultants as Chad Griffin now runs the Human Rights Campaign from Washington, Noah Mamet is the U.S. ambassador to Argentina and veteran Marge Tabankin has retired.
Principal already advises some of Hollywood’s top political and philanthropic donors, including Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter (one of the town’s Republicans), Casey Wasserman, Live Nation’s Michael Rapino, Peter Chernin and Lionsgate’s Rob Friedman. In fact, Pflug, Zukerman and Rachelefsky met while putting together a DNC event Rapino hosted for President Obama. “There is absolutely a need for strategic partners who can navigate the labyrinth of philanthropy, politics and business,” says Wasserman of his advisory team.
“This team understands these worlds and has the skills to be effective.” With the 2016 campaigns beginning to take shape (and candidates calling on Hollywood for money), Zukerman sees opportunity in what she calls “a resurgence among C-suiters to diversify their philanthropic civic and political worldviews.” Adds Pflug: “It’s no longer just about writing a check and taking a photo for the bookshelf. Execs and industry leaders are looking for more meaningful ways to get involved.”