Meet Pop Culture’s Free Speech Heroes

Liberal. Conservative. Apolitical. They're all taking a critical stand for freedom

Free speech, perhaps the most vital right shared through much of the western world, is under assault.

The evidence couldn’t be more clear.

That’s just a partial list, one that doesn’t include Cancel Culture and its insidious threads.

The mainstream media looks away at much if not all the above. So do most artists. When one attempts to defend free speech, like when Tom Hanks critiqued “sensitivity readers,” it becomes national news.

The following artists go further than the two-time Oscar winner. They’ve dedicated their professional brands to reclaiming free speech, letting others speak and using their art to push the conversation forward.

Each has a different way of going about it, but their contributions should be applauded. They are the counter-culture rebels we need now more than ever.

The following creators don’t hail from a single party. Some are aggressively apolitical, while others might lean to the Left today, then veer Right tomorrow.

They deserve your support for taking a stand at a critical moment in history.

Winston Marshall

The former Mumford & Sons musician left the band he co-founded in 2021 after some accused him of supporting a “Right Wing troll’s” tome. It didn’t matter that the so-called troll was a mild-mannered journalist who happened to be both gay and Asian. Or that Andy Ngo’s invaluable work chronicling Antifa’s vile nature shames the mainstream press.

Marshall, who considers his political leanings center-Left, seemed to give in to the woke mob by leaving the group. He said at the time he didn’t want to negatively impact his bandmates.

The artist emerged as a powerful voice for freedom. His “Marshall Matters” podcast highlights critical voices in the free speech fight, proving his critics couldn’t silence him for long.

Chrissie Mayr

The right-leaning comedienne will never be featured on “Saturday Night Live” or any late-night corporate show. No matter. She’s built her brand via podcasting, stand-up dates and an endless reservoir of good cheer.

She’s a Happy Warrior in the Andrew Breitbart tradition.

At a time when many comedians cower behind progressive platitudes, Mayr sticks a thumb in the culture’s eye, like via her “LIVE from January 6th” comedy album.

Joe Rogan

The Spotify superstar could have bent the knee last year and kept his massive contract afloat. The Left and the media savaged Rogan, a professional comedian, for interviewing guests who defied the COVID-19 narratives.

For that he was branded a racist and lectured by an aging rocker. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek stood by Rogan, and the podcaster responded by doubling down on his free speech bona fides.


Rogan kept on interviewing guests who shared radically different views, mocked the corrupt press for being, well, corrupt and embraced his unofficial role as a free speech leader.

None of that was easy. He could have done as told and curtailed his rebellious streak. Instead, he saw how important open debate is to the culture, especially as many citizens question the institutions that once held the country together.

Amanda Milius

If all the director did was debunk the Russia collusion hoax before most people she’d gain a spot on this list.

Milius, daughter of Hollywood legend John Milius and a talent in her own right, rushed “The Plot Against the President” to the masses in 2020.

The documentary detailed the lies behind the nastiest dirty trick in political history, making it into a ticking time bomb-like affair with grave ramifications.

The film got ignored by the press, but anyone who watched the film knew how vital, and brave, its arguments remain.

She’s not done, either. She pushes free speech on platforms large and small, and her cinematic vision cannot be denied.

Russell Brand

A decade ago, Brand was licking his wounds from a faltering film career and espousing the glories of socialism. Today? He’s using his social media empire to defend free speech, amplify his flock of like-minded fans and doing it all with a wink and a grin.

He even used his high profile to promote journalists like Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, men who have exposed the censorial rot across the culture. 

It’s a remarkable transition for the bawdy Brit. He understands what happens when a culture stifles debate. It never ends well.

Bill Maher

He might be the veteran member of this informal troupe, someone whose free speech battles date back more than two decades.

Maher memorably got pummeled for his inelegant comments about bravery and 9/11. Since then, he’s been keenly aware of how important speech is to society’s overall health.

He’s been attacked for criticizing religion, using the “n-word” on his program and savaging the woke mindset. He’s never backed down and now promotes debate with his “Club Random” podcast. The show cheers on dissent, debate and the importance of pushing political labels aside in the process.

Rob Schneider

This recovering Democrat found his free speech voice decades after his breakthrough work on “Saturday Night Live.” The comic actor insists we keep speaking  truth to power, question authority and build bridges wherever possible to defend speech.

His FOX Nation special “Woke Up in America” fuses biting social commentary with laughter, and he’s even spoken out against “SNL” for betraying its comic mission.

Anthony Cumia

The former “Opie and Anthony” standout learned the hard way how society punishes artists for pushing the envelope.

Fed up with being fired one time too man, he created Compound Media so he’d be in charge of his broadcasting future. The platform gives him and a gaggle of comic voices the chance to say whatever they please.

Like it? Subscribe. Don’t? Then don’t. No hard feelings.

The culture craves forums where comedians can work on their craft, share edgy material and do so without looking over one’s shoulder. Cumia delivered just that, a far cry from how his former rival, Howard Stern, reacted to the battles of the 21st century.

Spoiler alert: Stern put his head in the sand.

Adam Carolla

The “Man Show” alum created a “Pirate Ship” in 2009 to ensure he had the freedom to say what he wanted, when he wanted.

How prescient.

Years later, Carolla’s ability to speak his mind sans consequences made him one of the culture’s most valuable, hilarious voices. He’s shredded media corruption, COVID-19 liars and more while giving cover for others to join his free speech revolution.

He also joined Dennis Prager to warn us about the clampdown on free speech in academia, captured in the must-see documentary “No Safe Spaces.” We didn’t heed their warning, alas.

JK Rowling

The progressive author’s life changed forever in 2020.

Rowling, famed for creating the “Harry Potter” franchise, disagreed with elements of the trans movement. The Cancel Culture response was swift and unrelenting. It carries through to today, and there’s little chance her rabid critics will back down.


She refuses to apologize, for starters. She fights back early and often, exposing the souls who try to permanently silence her voice.

Many ultra-wealthy stars have bowed to the woke mob and diminished free speech in the process. that list includes pop culture All-Stars like Stephen King and Scarlett Johansson.

Rowling refuses to bend the knee, let alone apologize. That defiance matters as much as any other contribution offered by members of this list.

Justin Folk

The director may lack the name recognition of his fellow pop culture warriors, but his work speaks for itself.

He directed “No Safe Spaces,” 2019’s invaluable look at how the Left crushes free speech on campuses across the country. The film lacked the big budget of most mainstream documentaries, but Folk made every penny count. “No Safe Spaces” looks gorgeous, and its narrative leans on colorful talking heads to tell harrowing stories of speech decline.

Folk’s follow-up gave voices to millions struggling with the radical side of the trans movement. “What Is a Woman?” let mild-mannered Matt Walsh stump experts with a question most toddlers could ace.

Next up? Another top-secret project sure to rattle the culture. Again.

Dave Chappelle

He’s the GOAT who nearly got kicked off of Netflix for telling the “wrong” jokes.

The comedy giant touched the third rail of modern culture – transgenderism – with wildly mixed results on his 2021 Netflix special “The Closer.”

Platform employees picketed outside the building. Reporters lashed out at Chappelle, labeling him transphobic despite the special’s glowing tribute to a late trans comic. He lost distribution for his untitled documentary, a situation that has yet to be resolved.

And, worst of all, a critic rushed the stage during his 2022 Hollywood Bowl performance and tackled the Ohio resident. The attacker had a knife on his person but was unable to use it.

He’s faced the cultural fire and emerged as powerful as ever. And there’s little fear he’ll self-censor anytime soon.

John Cleese

The man behind the Ministry of Silly Walks is dead serious about free speech. Cleese, at 83, won’t stop defending creativity or mocking those who think speech demands guardrails.

He does so with his signature, scathing wit, and he refuses to be cowed by younger voices demanding his ways aren’t appropriate for modern times.

Nonsense. We’re never needed Cleese more.

Sean Ono Lennon

The musician’s career doesn’t generate as many headlines as his famous pappy, but he leverages his bully pulpit AKA Twitter to defend free speech without anger.

Tweet after tweet, Ono Lennon uses humor and wisdom to explain why speech matters in our tribal times. And he does so even when many prefer to shut his thoughts down.

Gina Carano

The former MMA star knew her biggest career break could end with a single Tweet or Instagram post.

Carano, who helped “The Mandalorian” become a pop culture sensation via her Cara Dune character, got the official warning from Disney. Her rebellious social media posts, neither vicious nor cruel like some of her Disney peers, could get her kicked off the show.

Instead, she kept on talking, knowing that speaking her mind meant more than any gig.

She became a free speech symbol, telling others it’s all right to forfeit some dreams if it means compromising your soul. She snagged the lead in a Daily Wire movie yet remains on the outskirts of Hollywood, Inc. She retains her integrity and chances are she’s inspired other strong women to speak up for themselves.

Andrew Doyle

He’s the mind behind Titania McGrath, the Social Justice Warrior whose musings trick many into thinking she’s an honest to goodness snowflake. That’s the power of a first-rate satirist.

Doyle uses Titania’s absurdity to fight back against woke overreach, but it’s not the only tool at his disposal. The comedian also penned “Free Speech And Why It Matters” and “The New Puritans,” tomes perfectly aligned with our troubled times. 

Plus, he’s teaming up with Cleese for a show promoting “proper argument,” a project sure to get pummeled by the press.

Ricky Gervais

The British icon is having a blast making people rush to their safe spaces.

For Gervais, funny is his North Star, the guide for any comedian to follow. It’s why his stand-up takes no prisoners and often leaves audiences howling.

His 2020 Golden Globes speech might be his finest hour, but the comic’s ability to poke fun at hot-button issues remains his calling card.

Jimmy Dore

The old-school liberal can’t stop questioning authority. That means the pundit and comedian is slammed as a “Right Winger” or some other inflammatory label.


Liberal Rob Schneider Pushes Back Against Wokeness & Pays The Price! w/Rob Schneider

Dore uses his stand-up comedy and podcasts to promote debate, ridicule fascists and prove political labels mean little in modern times.

Nick Searcy

If Milius’ “Plot” proved the most subversive film of the past few years, Searcy’s “Capitol Punishment” came in a close second. The documentary examined the U.S. government’s aggressive prosecution of Jan. 6 rioters.

The film’s bold nature questioned many media narratives about the tragic day and its aftermath. He let people who weren’t given a voice in the press share their side of the story, and in doing so he gave citizens a valuable resource.

Searcy also deserves a spot on this list for his pugnacious Twitter feed. He knows he could lose Hollywood gigs for embracing his conservative nature, but he speaks out anyway. That’s courage, and it just might give other free thinkers cover to speak out next.

Tim Robbins

One of Hollywood’s stanchest liberals lived up to that description last year. The “Bull Durham” star began questioning the lockdown mania that swept the country over the past three years. He refused to take the bait, did his own research and saw so many hypocrisies flooding the culture.

So he started speaking up about it.

“This Is A New Religion” Tim Robbins Reflects On The Pandemic

Robbins’ red-pill awakening hasn’t changed his political affiliation. It still allowed him to defend free speech, question authority and slam those unwilling to do either.

Salman Rushdie

The “Satanic Verses” author faced a punishment even worse than Cancel Culture. The Iranian government’s “fatwa” put a literal target on the author’s head back in 1989. He became a living embodiment of free speech and why it matters, requiring security measures to appear in public.

Decades later, someone attempted to complete the fatwa. That left  Rushdie without vision in one eye among other chronic wounds. He still won’t back down, becoming one of the loudest voices to decry the censorship of iconic authors like Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie.


  1. Strange bedfellows these days. If someone told me 4-5 years ago that I’d be regularly listening to Jimmy Dore and Russell Brand, I’d have told them they’re crazy. Missing from the list are Glenn Greenwald and Naomi Wolf.

  2. Thanks for that list. I knew many of them, but now learned about even more. America and the rest of the West have probably never been in more danger of falling to leftist fascist doctrine. I’m not sure if it’s even possible to recover, but at least there’s some trying to fight. Unlike the weak republican politicians in America.

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