Hollywood News

Film Executive Ryan Millsap Allegedly Sent Racist, Antisemitic Texts

Ryan Millsap, the former CEO and owner of Blackhall Studios, made a name for himself in Atlanta as an executive who encouraged diversity. But, per A report in ProPublicaHe may not be as supportive of diversity and inclusion as he appeared.

this week, ProPublica Staff Nicole Carr and Atlanta Journal Constitution Reporter Mike Jordan published an investigation that examined hundreds of pages of text messages between Millsap and his ex-girlfriend Christy Hockmeyer, which were presented as evidence in the case against him.

His posts, mostly from 2019, included comments about “fucking black people” and “rude Jews”, as well as other racist and anti-Semitic ideas. The pages were released because of a legal dispute, involving various filings between the real estate developer and his former attorney, John Dagrosa Smith.

“Ryan’s public persona is different from who he is,” Smith wrote in one of the filings. He added, “Ryan works hard to mislead and hide the truth. And he’s very good at it.”

The Hollywood Reporter A rep for Smith has been contacted for comment.

Text in the story and additional court records made clear that Hawkmeyer, who was an investor in Millsap’s real estate company, played an active role in his business affairs, according to ProPublica.

In one of their conversations, the two were discussing Millsap’s desire to hire an executive who was well-known in the Atlanta film industry, and Hawkmeyer suggested that he get hold of someone from Tyler Perry Studios. The 12-stage lot is named after a black filmmaker. “Taking someone from Tyler Perry would be fine,” Hawkmeyer wrote in one text, according to court filings, “as long as they’re white.” She also said she knew “little Jews,” which might be good for Millsap to consider.

When reporters approached the film executive about an interview related to his investigation, he told them it “seemed like a weird situation” and asked “How did it happen?” He requested a review of the material he submitted, which he provided, and then stopped responding to his multiple requests for comment.

Hawkmeyer on the other hand replied. She explained that she cut off all ties with him years ago because their “values, morals and beliefs were incompatible.” She added, according to the story, “I continually encouraged Mr. Millsap to treat his investors and community supporters with fairness and respect.”

In another email, he apologized for his part in a racist and anti-Semitic conversation with a real estate developer. “I made comments and used language that was inappropriate,” he wrote. “I referred to people in ways I shouldn’t have. I sincerely apologize for what I said. These comments do not reflect who I am, and the race as a whole. I reject bigotry and antisemitism.”

Blackhall Studios attracted a wide range of productions – including poison, Lovecraft country And Godzilla: King of the Monsters — and wanted to expand in 2019 through a land swap with the county. Millsap’s pitch to the community for expansion included a $3.8 million plan that featured public improvements, such as a new park, according to ProPublica. He also noted the expansion, which will triple the studio’s soundstages, will help create thousands of jobs for community members.

In 2021, Millsap sold Blackhall Studios for $120 million, and the following year, he announced plans to build a new complex in Newton County, Georgia, about 40 miles east of Atlanta.

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