Why did Hollywood stars wear red pin badges at the Oscars ceremony?

Celebrities, including musicians Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, Poor Things star Mark Ruffalo, and comedian Ramy Youssef, wore red pins at the 96th Academy Awards to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

But what is the symbolism behind the pin? Here is what we know about it.

What were the red pins at the Oscars?

The red pins were distributed by Artists4Ceasefire, a group of celebrities and entertainment industry members who collectively signed a letter late in October asking United States President Joe Biden to demand a ceasefire as well as the safe release of captives in Gaza. The pin design shows a red glossy circle with a hand and a black heart.

“The pin symbolises collective support for an immediate and permanent cease-fire, the release of all of the hostages and for the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza,” Artists4Ceasefire said in a press release.

“Compassion must prevail,” it added. The more than 380 signatories include Cate Blanchett, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez and Bradley Cooper.

“We are asking for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza,” actor and comedian Ramy Youssef told US media. “We are asking for justice and peace for the Palestinian people and also you know, a really universal message, which is let’s just stop killing the children,” he added.

Among the protesters was SAG-AFTRA Members for a Ceasefire, a group of working actors.

The demonstrators said they sought to ensure that Israel’s assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah was not ignored, even amid the glitz and glamour of the evening.

More than 31,000 Palestinians have been killed so far in five months of the Israeli military offensive, which has prompted concerns over the risk of genocide and famine.

According to a post on X by Nicole Sperling, a New York Times reporter, the protests “shut down the cross street of Highland and Fountain, a main thoroughfare”.

“The Academy is sending golf carts to retrieve the celebrities who got stuck,” she added.

The director of the chilling Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest likewise lent his voice to the cause, while accepting his Oscar for Best International Feature.

“All our choices are made to reflect and confront us in the present – not to say, ‘Look what they did then’, rather ‘look what we do now’,” film director Jonathan Glazer said. “Our film shows where dehumanisation leads at its worst. It shaped all of our past and present.”

“Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation that has led to conflict for so many innocent people, whether the victims of October 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza,” he said to applause.

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