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(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Toronto Star has corrected an article which last week falsely alleged actor Bruce Willis had refused to visit Israel due to his support for the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign.
On May 8, in an article about Stephen Hawking’s decision to boycott Israel, environment reporter Raveena Aulakh incorrectly reported: “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.”
The mistaken information about Willis seems to have emanated from the website of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). In a list of “Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel Highlights” the website includes a reference to Willis having cancelled a planned trip to Tel Aviv where he was scheduled to attend a local premiere screening of the ensemble film The Expendables 2.
Following publication of the erroneous report, CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) reported on its blog
that Sylvester Stallone, who co-starred with Willis, canceled the actors' summer 2010 Israel trip after his son's death. CAMERA also noted that Willis had in the past publicly expressed his pro-Israel sentiment. The watch group requested that editors either substantiate the claim that Willis participated in an anti-Israel boycott, or correct.
Aulakh went directly to the source – or at least his people – after being informed she had most likely been wrong about Willis. She reached his Hollywood publicist via email and asked: “Has Bruce Willis ever boycotted Israel?” Samantha Mast, publicist with the star powerhouse agency Rogers & Cowan, provided an unequivocal response: “That is categorically not true.”