Well-known Hollywood philanthropists and pro-Isreal political activists Haim and Cheryl Saban entered the 2020 fundraising fray in a big way on Monday, hosting a virtual event for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden that pulled in a whopping $4.5 million.
Haim Saban, a media mogul who’s produced records, movies, and TV shows (including the Power Rangers series), and helmed a consortium that purchased Spanish-language network Univision, currently sits at number 23 on Forbes’ list of richest people in the U.S., with a net worth of about $3 billion. Besides funding a network of healthcare clinics in L.A., the Sabans recently gave a $50 million gift to L.A.’s forthcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which was meant to open at the end of this year. And for every dollar the Sabans give in this country, they match with a dollar for Israel.
When Haim asks his mogul pals (Robert Iger, Jeffrey Katzenberg ) and celeb friends (Tom Hanks, Annette Bening) to whip out their checkbooks for political candidates, they’re more than willing to do it. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Democratic presidential hopefuls in the early stages of their candidacy jockey for the Sabans’ support. They were Hillary Clinton’s biggest donors in 2016, and lucky for Joe Biden, he was and is the couple’s favored 2020 candidate. Haim Saban was vocally opposed to Bernie Sanders’s candidacy, telling THR that “Bernie thinks every billionaire is a crook.”
Only 22 people attended Monday’s $500,000-per-ticket, high-roller benefit; guests included Frank Gehry and members of the Disney family. Saban’s co-host was none other than Los Angeles congressman Adam Schiff. Vice President Biden visited virtually, and after a brief technical snafu, told the donors he believes Democrats can win the Senate back on November 3. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Saban contributed $1.5 million to the Dem Senate races.
“I hope all of you, because you’ve been so generous to me—I’m being greedy here—I hope you’re being generous to some of the Senate candidates around the country,” Biden said. “Because I think we’ll win back the United States Senate this time.”
Biden addressed California’s wildfires and the climate crisis in a very different way than Donald Trump, who on Monday told state environmental officials he’s confident it will “get cooler soon.”
“This crisis demands action, not denial,” Biden said. “But as Donald Trump visits California today, we know he’s not going to step up. He already said he wants to withhold aid and punish the state for not voting for him. The West is literally on fire, and it’s still all about him. He likes to tweet about protecting the suburbs. That’s his dog whistle on race. But wildfires and the hurricanes are literally tearing the suburbs apart.”