Richard Dreyfuss is everything conservatives crave in a movie star.
The 75-year-old Oscar winner has talent to burn, for starters. His resume teems with iconic films like “Jaws,” “The Goodbye Girl” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus.”
Best of all, given the tenor of the times, Dreyfuss is happy to break bread with conservatives and loathes the tribalism that currently infects America. His 2016 appearance at a rally for Sen. Ted Cruz caused a kerfuffle, but he didn’t care.
This week, the actor gave an expansive interview to a classical liberal, Dave Rubin, who now aligns with the conservative movement.
Their conversation, captured in a series of YouTube videos, is funny, wry and filled with great stories from Dreyfuss’ life and career. It let the actor share his belief that the country has lost its way and that young people desperately need civics education to appreciate what America has to offer … before it slips away.
The actor even takes a swing at self-important Oscar speeches, dubbing them silly and cringe-worthy.
Yet Dreyfuss denies one of the terrible truths about Hollywood in the 21st century. The industry blacklists conservative stars.
“Conservative writers and such who say they’ve been blacklisted, I like to turn to my friend Lionel Chetwynd and say, ‘Lionel, you haven’t stopped working since ‘Hanoi Hilton,’” the actor said with a twinkle. “Don’t tell me you’ve been blacklisted.”
The two collaborated on the 1974 film “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” and, apparently, remain close.
“I think there’s a kind of romance to being blacklisted, so you want in on that,” the actor added.
Funny he should mention Chetwynd, that rare power player in the conservative art world. The prolific creator’s IMDB credits all but dried up in 2008 – 15 years ago. His only “recent” credit is as the director/producer of 2016’s “An Improbable Dream.”
Maybe his politics had something to do with it. Perhaps.
What we do have is evidence that right-leaning stars face staggering opposition in an industry that preaches tolerance at every turn.
A recent example? Gina Carano shared right-leaning, or simply non-progressive views, on the pandemic, pronouns and anti-conservative bigotry while co-starring on Disney+’s “The Mandalorian.”
The Mouse House fired her for said messages.
Fired not because of acting or her role in Star Wars. Fired because she had the nerve to be a free thinking Independent Woman who wouldn’t sell her soul to Hollywood. Fired because she had a different opinion than others and wouldn’t fold to an Agenda. @ginacarano HBD Queen. pic.twitter.com/qgErt5PQN7
— JAYHOUSE (@jayhousecomics) April 16, 2023
For words, mind you. Meanwhile, Disney is still in business with Jonathan Majors, who allegedly mistreated multiple women. Majors maintains his innocence.
Roseanne Barr, up until recently a Green Party presidential candidate, embraced the MAGA movement and subsequently got fired by ABC (owned by Disney) for one ugly Tweet in 2018.
(Meanwhile, liberal Alec Baldwin accidentally shot someone to death but is back at work and Ezra Miller’s litany of serious allegations hasn’t stopped Warner Bros. from bringing his solo vehicle “The Flash” to theaters this summer.)
Need more blacklist-style examples?
Antonio Sabato, Jr. says being a conservative essentially ended his career in mainstream show business. Kevin Sorbo alleges his right-leaning ways cost him his professional representation. The same happened to Oscar-nominated star James Woods, whose acting career collapsed following his supporting turn in 2014’s “Jamesy Boy.”
And the problem isn’t new. Consider this snippet buried in a 2016 Hollywood Reporter article about industry conservatives’ views on the Trump campaign.
“While THR spoke to dozens of Trump voters, few wished to announce their support, citing their desire to avoid backlash from co-workers. One makeup artist, for example, says longtime clients stopped hiring her after learning she was a Republican.”
Actress Julienne Davis shared the costs of coming out as a conservative with Fox News in 2017.
“The written and very public insults from Hollywood peers on social media and elsewhere have been numerous,” she said. “I’ve been attacked with obscenities, called a racist, and had one person tell me he hoped I would die.”
Greg Gutfeld recently opened up to Adam Carolla about how hard it is to snag guests for his top-rated Fox News series. Carolla noted how he often struggles to find talent for his right-leaning projects, like The Daily Wire’s “Truth Yeller” series.
Gutfeld felt his pain.
“I can’t tell you how many examples I have of this … ‘I love your show. Can’t do it,’” Gutfeld said. “Also, there’s the interference that’s run up by the team,” Gutfeld continued. “It’s always the publicist. ‘We’re just looking out for [the talent].’”
The best example of all? The possibly defunct Friends of Abe society, a group of conservative actors who met in secret for years to provide moral support and professional encouragement.
Hollywood liberals scream their politics from the nearest rooftop, as is their right. Hollywood conservatives meet in secret, fearful of exposure.
(Another reason Abe is likely no more? Newsweek: At its zenith, there were about 2,500 entertainment workers in the group, though it disbanded after the IRS sought personal information from the organization.)
Oh, that blacklist isn’t absolute. Republicans like Jon Voight continue to work steadily, as do Tim Allen and Kelsey Grammer.
They are the exceptions. Many more artists hide their conservative beliefs for fear of professional blowback. That’s only gotten worse since President Donald Trump became Commander in Chief.
This reporter has spoken to several artists across the entertainment landscape who confessed to hiding their views for fear of retaliation.
Let’s hope Rubin shared some of the above information with Dreyfuss before they ended their conversation. The “Jaws” alum is one of the few superstars who would be genuinely enraged to hear it.
As well he should be.