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Jared Kushner’s new head of communications is, appropriately, a veteran of selling horror films

  • Ashley Rodriguez
By Ashley Rodriguez

Reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

A Hollywood publicist who cut his teeth promoting low-budget horror hits like Get Out and The Purge films is now selling the achievements of Jared Kushner’s new role in the White House.

US president Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor has reportedly hired Josh Raffel to lead communications for the White House Office of American Innovation, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Since joining Blumhouse Productions in 2015, Raffel has led marketing and communications for its slate of projects, which included well-received horror films like M. Night Shyamalan’s Split, Jordan Peele’s Get Out, and The Purge: Election Year—in which everyone is legally allowed to kill and maim as much as they like for one day a year. (As yet, this is not been proposed as policy by the Trump administration.)

Kushner’s new office is tasked with bringing private-sector thinking to the federal government. The group is reportedly working with business leaders (paywall) like Apple’s Tim Cook, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to reform federal bureaucracy.

Raffel had ties to Kushner and the Trump administration before his horror-film days. He represented the Kushner family’s real-estate company as an executive at Hiltzik Strategies, the New York-based PR firm where his clients also included producer Jason Blum of Blumhouse, TV-and-radio personality Glenn Beck, and movie studio Sony Pictures.

Hope Hicks, Trump’s strategic communications director and former campaign press secretary, also worked there. And she and Raffel reportedly remained friends.

He’s not the only Hollywood alum to land a role in the White House. Disney CEO Bob Iger was appointed to the president’s strategy and policy forum (paywall), Trump’s senior advisor Stephen Bannon wrote, produced, and directed a series of politically charged documentaries, and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin was a film financier.

Raffel is expected to start his new job in Washington, DC in a few weeks time. Teri Everett, former head of communications at Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, will reportedly replace him at Blumhouse.

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