An unexpected confession from HBO's 'Silicon Valley' reveals how Hollywood discriminates against conservatives.
There are plenty of reasons people don’t get parts in Hollywood.
They’re not tall enough. They don’t fit the character in question’s physical profile. They arrive with a lousy reputation.
The casting director had a bad day, perhaps?
Here’s a new one: They want the current president to Make America Great Again. Trump supporters in Hollywood might find work even harder to come by since Jan. 20, according to a revelation by comic actor Jimmy Yang.
Yang dropped by “The Adam and Dr. Drew Show” earlier this week to talk about his HBO series “Silicon Valley.” And, of course, “help save some babies,” as frequent guest David Alan Grier calls the hosts’ advocacy.
The podcast chat soon steered into ABC’s cancellation of “Last Man Standing.” The popular sitcom starred Tim Allen, a conservative playing a conservative named Mike Baxter. Some on the right questioned why ABC would ditch a ratings winner featuring one of TV’s biggest stars. The show’s star himself couldn’t believe what happened, either.
Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years. #lastmanstanding
— Tim Allen (@ofctimallen) May 16, 2017
Could the industry’s hard-left politics be to blame?
That’s when Yang dropped this bomb on the podcast hosts.
Yang described a conversation he had recently with a casting executive at “one of the studios” in Hollywood. Yang wanted to know if the person cared how many Instagram followers someone had before hiring them. In our social media age, having a large cyber following can be attractive to some employers.
“I do check the Instagrams to see if there’s anything weird, if they get drunk every day or if they’re a Trump supporter,” Yang recalls her saying. “Then, I don’t know. I would have a hard time…”
“That’s messed up, though,” Yang says about her confession. “Aren’t you being a bigot in a way?”
It might be more than just one casting executive, though.
Intolerance on the Rise
Earlier this year The Los Angeles Times wrote about the discrimination conservatives face in Hollywood for simply espousing a different political viewpoint.
Trump supporters, apparently, have it the worst.
For the vast majority of conservatives who work in entertainment, going to set or the office each day has become a game of avoidance and secrecy. The political closet is now a necessity for many in an industry that is among the most liberal in the country.
The Hollywood Reporter also weighed in on the subject. A magazine columnist decried the “new McCarthyism” facing conservatives in the entertainment business.
In an astonishing reversal of Hollywood history, just as liberals here once considered themselves an endangered species, so do conservatives today. They no longer are free to talk in the open, because they feel — rightly — we’re no longer prepared to listen, any more than they’re prepared to listen to liberals. There’s deafness on both sides.
Comedian Heather McDonald told HiT last year that Trump supporters in Hollywood should genuinely worry their preferences could cost them work. The director of “2016: Obama’s America” shared how some crew members of that film worked under pseudonyms for fear of backlash tied to the right-leaning film.
Unanswered Questions Remain
Earlier in the conversation, Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Yang weighed in on whether Allen’s politics influenced his show’s cancellation. Pinsky cautioned the move could simply be a case of new executives wanting to promote their own products first.
Carolla wasn’t buying that.
“People don’t normally get rid of top two TV shows on their network,” says Carolla, referring to “LMS’s” robust ratings. “It’s hard to make a case [for cancellation] when you’re on the podium and you have 70 shows in your network, and it’s in the top five.”
Carolla wouldn’t come right out and blame the cancellation on politics. He wouldn’t discount it, either.
“I don’t think it’s one thing [that led to the cancellation]. It’s a combination of payroll and contracts and, bleeding in, it’s possibly politics,” he says. “I’ll say with certainty this didn’t help.”
Carolla expanded the topic to include the assault on free speech on college campuses nationwide. It’s the subject of his next documentary, “No Safe Spaces.”
He recalled an interview with a college student who demanded vetting for potential university speakers. And who would do the vetting?
The student, of course.
“Aren’t you for free speech? 100 percent. You just get to decide who gets to speak,” Carolla recalls. “The people you’re vetting are often times doctors or professionals … [liberal students] would hear a homeless man’s perspective rather than letting a conservative Jew like Dennis Prager take the stage.”
“We’re now living in a world with this crazy hypocrisy is coming at us 24/7 and nobody even blinks anymore,” Carolla adds.
(Photo Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO)