Hollywood A-listers Mark Ruffalo, Adam McKay, Kat Coiro, Julianne Moore, Rachel McAdams, Joaquin Phoenix and Edward Norton are among more than 200 signatories of an open letter calling on Toronto International Film Festival CEO Cameron Bailey to drop the Royal Bank of Canada as a sponsor for its 2024 event.
The letter argues that RBC is “world-leading enabler of fossil fuel extraction” despite making “extensive statements purporting to champion the cause of fighting climate change, resulting in a federal investigation for deceiving its customers.”
It also notes that multiple leading Indigenous and BIPOC organizations and nations have “denounced the bank’s indiscriminate enabling of projects on their lands” and that RBC has has denied senior leaders of Indigenous nations access to its AGM despite having the proper paperwork.
“If we are to play a meaningful role in countering the climate crisis and stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples, we cannot be blind to our industry’s role in shaping culture. We cannot implicitly endorse RBC by allowing it to be the leading partner of Canadian film,” the letter states.
The letter says that TIFF’s more than 100 corporate sponsors and $45 million in revenue makes it “well positioned to replace RBC’s estimated $1 million per year and find less harmful sponsors,” and that there’s even an opportunity to “move beyond fossil fuel money.”
“We appreciate this being brought to our attention by members of our filmmaking community,” Judy Lung, TIFF’s vice president of public relations and communications, said in a statement to TheWrap. “We are committed to environmental sustainability and recognize the importance of addressing climate change quickly and collaboratively. We are in active discussions with RBC and welcome their openness to engaging in dialogue as a first step.”
An RBC spokesperson said the bank strongly believes that more and faster action is needed to address climate change and that it is “actively engaging with our clients and partners to identify opportunities to do more in delivering on shared objectives.” It added that it is working to “engage with Indigenous communities in collectively advancing reconciliation.”
“We appreciate the concern for our climate expressed by members of the film community and would welcome the chance for dialogue,” the statement concluded.