This critic fondly recalls interviewing some of the biggest names in show business.
I’ve chatted with Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Albert Brooks, Glenn Close and more. It’s one of the perks of the gig, beyond the long hours and meager pay.
As a film fanatic, I’ve quietly cheered meeting stars who shine so brightly on the big screen. My political views differ from theirs, but it doesn’t matter. They’re movie stars who create great art.
For years I’ve covered Hollywood from a conservative point of view. I’d happily review the latest movie one day, and then criticize a celebrity’s political stance the next. No hard feelings. Vigorous debate is as American as apple pie and the rest of that Chevy meme.
Covering Hollywood today, though, is proving much more difficult. And it’s getting worse by the day.
I don’t believe I’ve changed, but Hollywood sure has. The last three months have seen such savagery from the show business community it’s hard to know where to start.
Perhaps that calamitous “Imagine” cover set the early tone. A group of major stars, including Gal Gadot, warbled the John Lennon tune to cheer up quarantined souls. That moment might be the only time the modern Left and Right united in horror.
Tone deaf hardly described it.
The crush of Fake News stories shared by stars on social media is never healthy. It’s gotten worse given we’re engulfed in not one but two national crises. Consider this Tweet, from “Will & Grace” star Debra Messing.
A dog whistle to white nationalists and Nazis. pic.twitter.com/FXnOGlkwjc
— Debra Messing✍🏻 (@DebraMessing) June 2, 2020
When she finally learned it was false, she gave a “fake but accurate” defense in the grand Dan Rather mold.
1/2 Thank you Craig for informing me, I hadn’t known it was photoshopped. I still stand, however, by the comparison of Trump to an authoritarian dictator. He did threaten to turn our military against our citizens. He used police might, horses,& teargas on peaceful protesters. https://t.co/FeNlgHV2k9
— Debra Messing✍🏻 (@DebraMessing) June 3, 2020
She’s hardly the only celebrity sharing Fake News to their millions of social media followers. It happens all the time, and the stars either let the mistakes linger or excuse them away.
Apologize? Of course not.
Meanwhile, late night hosts have targeted everyday Americans eager to get back to work. Comedy Central’s Jordan Klepper was the worst offender, teeing up a nurse to mock those eager to earn a paycheck again.
Yet the same comics haven’t said a syllable about the COVID-19 risks associated with rioting, looting and the mass protests going on nationwide.
Note to Late Night Nation. We see you and your hypocrisy.
Actor Nick Offerman’s tart tongue targeted the very same group living in states that opened up, with caution, following the COVID-19 lockdown. Here’s how he framed it for the far-left Daily Beast while talking about his cyber show with wife/actress Megan Mullally.
When I jokingly ask if they considered moving the show to a state that has eased up on its lockdown, he adds, “We did not, because we’re not a**holes.”
Other stars are sounding downright surly with little empathy for their fans. Actor/producer Seth Rogen says if you disagree with his position on Black Lives Matter you don’t “deserve” to watch his movies.
All of that may pale in comparison to the newest celebrity trend -- glorifying violence.
We’ll start with acclaimed actor Idris Elba. The “Luther” star’s recent Tweet is as incendiary as possible, which means Team Twitter let it stand, of course.
This ain’t a movie/ ain’t calling cut/ we cutting the throat of the old system/so if you ain’t with us/ then you better run. New breed. pic.twitter.com/sRop2VVhKl
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) June 2, 2020
Rapper LL Cool J picked a terrible time to stoke the racial flames overwhelming the country this week. His new song does just that.
View this post on Instagram
Here’s some sample lyrics:
“Jumping up and down on police cars and vex. After Chauvin killed George Floyd we got next. Molotov cocktails anarchy on the set. The rich took the loot so now we loot s***,” the Grammy-winner says. “Feeling like a caged tiger that’s whipped to do tricks. That’s why I started fires and yelled and threw bricks. They tried to run me over and arrest me and s***. “Tazed, pepper spray and a gaze with the kid.”
Some stars are rushing to praise Antifa, a group so foul President Donald Trump may deem it a domestic terrorist organization. Antifa’s serial attacks on journalist Andy Ngo should be enough to tell anyone how awful they are, even if their name allegedly stands for “anti-fascist.”
The group’s lust for violence, destruction and chaos is well documented, even if the media attempts to defend them.
Instead, stars are rushing to praise Antifa. Several celebrities, from Patton Oswalt, star of the new Netflix comedy special “I Love Everything,” to Billy Baldwin, have shared the following meme, one so morally reprehensible it beggars belief.
History 101 refresher course:
USA & England
FDR & Churchill
White supremacists… bad.
… that is all. pic.twitter.com/XaLEKdGsVt
— Billy Baldwin (@BillyBaldwin) June 2, 2020
The worst part? It got retweeted by Messing and purports to “teach” us history.
The latest celebrity trend is so unhinged it’s hard to believe it actually exists.
Stars like Brie Larson, Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman and more now want to “defund the police” following the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis cop.
Let that sink in. Defund the police.
We join in solidarity with the freedom fighters in Minneapolis, Louisville, and across the United States. And we call for the end to police terror.
We call for defunding of police and for those dollars to be rerouted to create a public national healthcare system.
Join us in demanding your local officials take the pledge to:
Vote no on all increases to police budgets
Vote yes to decrease police spending and budgets
Actress Busy Philipps, for one, hopes L.A.’s finest have fewer resources soon.
YES! Los Angeles- THIS is a huge step! Read the thread! https://t.co/TxpcDL4XV3
— Busy Philipps (@BusyPhilipps) June 3, 2020
What’s the Plan B these stars have in mind? What about people living in rough neighborhoods who need police protection from time to time? Less money means less cops, less resources and more citizens left to their own devices.
And, of course, the vast majority of celebrities loathe the Second Amendment.
We’re not debating climate change, minimum wage hikes or other hot button issues. We’re always free to discuss ways to improve the country and help the vulnerable.
Let the best arguments win.
Too many stars crave violence, and chaos, and they don’t care if a cop will be there to protect us. And while many, many stars are staying silent on these matters or quietly disagree, their voices aren’t be heard.
Messing’s voice is, though. And Portman’s. Elba’s. Moore’s. And many more.
All of this comes after three years of calling President Trump -- and his supporters -- Nazis. That shouldn’t be forgotten, either.
I’ll continue to cover, and report, on the latest Hollywood films, shows and streaming fare. I’ll always treat artists with respect and give their work extra attention when I think it’s good enough to merit it.
At the same time it’s getting harder to cover an industry that doesn’t believe in essential values Americans.
“Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion,” Harvey Weinstein famously said. We all know what happened to him, but what happened to Hollywood?