Ambassador Leaves Bahamas to Smooth Over Hollywood for Obama

Even Hollywood seems less impressed with Barack Obama this time around. The Hollywood Reporter forwarded the news Wednesday that Nicole Avant, named ambassador to the Bahamas by Obama after her fundraising for his 2008 campaign, is coming back to La La Land "in the hopes of patching up the incumbent president's battered relationship with the entertainment industry."

Avant is the daughter of Clarence Avant, a Democratic fundraiser and longtime soul music executive who founded Tabu Records in the 1980s and ran Motown Records in the Clinton years. Sources said Nicole would be one of Obama's top liaisons in Hollywood for the re-election effort, and she has some fences to mend:

These sources characterize the relationship between the Obama administration and Hollywood as tense and troubled, even though all of the president's fundraisers in town have sold out and have been attended by a diverse array of industry leaders.

Hollywood activists believe Obama has given their causes short shrift since moving into the White House. Making matters worse, some of Obama's top money givers have felt ignored and disregarded -- except for when the president needed campaign contributions.

The entertainment industry runs on personal relationships, something that the Obama administration apparently took for granted over the past three years.

Avant, with her deep ties to both the Democratic party and the entertainment industry, is being called upon to patch things over and rekindle at least some of [the] Hollywood enthusiasm for Obama.

Avant and her husband, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, will host a major fundraiser starring Michelle Obama at their Beverly Hills home on January 31.  The first lady will also featured at a luncheon in the affluent Hancock Park neighborhood on February 1.

Nicole Avant supported Obama despite her father's strong friendship with the Clintons and his fundraising for Hillary. In a 2007 Los Angeles Times story, Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe teased Nicole that she wouldn't be ambassador to Paris by supporting Obama.

"I think Nicole ought to be pope," McAuliffe said. "I think she ought to be whatever she wants."

He laughs: "That would drive Cardinal Mahony crazy."

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