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Tim Robbins: ‘You Can’t Over-Regulate People’s Lives’

'Bull Durham' star regrets buying into pandemic lockdowns, demonizing others

Actor/activist Tim Robbins hasn’t been as vocal as in the past.

Robbins, 64, spoke out early and often during President George W. Bush’s presidency, savaging the war in Iraq and what he saw as chilling infringements on free speech.

The versatile star’s film resume has quieted of late – his last big-screen role came in 2019’s “Dark Waters.” Pandemic lockdowns deeply impacted what he could do on stage or film sets.

Now, he’s speaking out to independent journalist Matt Taibbi about the past two-plus years in America, and it’s safe to say he’s nauseated by what he’s seen.

Robbins, who works extensively in theater as well as big-screen projects, mourned the loss of theatrical attendance both during the pandemic and after. Vaccine mandates and other draconian restrictions, he says, are partly to blame.

“If you start specifying reasons why people can’t be in a theater, I don’t think it’s a theater anymore,” Robbins told Taibbi on the journalist’s Substack platform. The actor/director compared America’s return to “normal” to England’s shift, where more stages opened without caveats.

“When you’re told you’re not welcome, you might not necessarily want to go back,” he says.

Robbins admits he did as told at the start of the pandemic lockdowns. That included demonizing those who didn’t follow the government narratives. In short, he was part of the problem, and he has no qualms about admitting it.

He later joined a BLM protest, mask over face, and later reflected on the hypocrisy of such “approved” mass protests.

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Lockdown rules directly impacted his art. Both SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity insisted artists couldn’t even audition for a role if they didn’t get the jab. Now, as we’re learning the vaccines didn’t prevent the virus’ spread, the rules make even less sense.

“Their livelihoods are threatened. They can’t participate yet… there’s no rhyme or reason with it.”

What about those with conditions that preclude them from getting the vaccine, like musician Pete Parada, or those who previously caught the virus and had natural immunity, he asks.

Robbins worries for American culture, noting our increasingly tribal in-fighting and inability to connect with those who hold different political views. Even rock-ribbed liberals have morphed into something unrecognizable during, and after, the pandemic.

“You go from someone that is inclusive, altruistic, generous, empathetic, to a monster,” he says. “Where you want to freeze people’s bank accounts because they disagree with you. That’s a dangerous thing. That’s a dangerous world that we’ve created.”

He blasted people like Jimmy Kimmel and Howard Stern who argued unvaccinated people didn’t deserve medical treatment, noting how addicts and obese people similarly hurt their bodies but deserve our love and care.

Robbins says he went out and talked to people protesting the lockdowns, expecting to find hateful souls on the streets. Instead, he found “old hippies and homeopaths,” but when he shared his impressions Twitter Nation excoriated him.

“I have kind of a hard line on freedom. You can’t over-regulate people’s lives. I don’t know what that makes me, what label that puts on me, but I am an absolutist on freedom,” he says.

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Robbins’ Oscar-winning drama “Dead Man Walking” typifies his approach to art. The 1995 film, starring Sean Penn as a killer on death row who bonds with a nun (Susan Sarandon) in his final days, wasn’t an overt attack on the death penalty.

“I wanted to make it for everybody, and I wanted people to have a discussion about it,” he says. “So we had to give dignity and screen time and respect to the people that had lost their family members, and were for the death penalty.”

Robbins also indirectly referenced Cancel Culture in his Taibbi chat, suggesting the arts are under attack in today’s society.

“It’s now not only just the scolds from the right, like in the old days when the Moral Majority wanted art to die. Now it’s unions and people that are, again, claiming virtuous reasons for all of this.”


  1. Celebrities are like most people which is they blindly trust and follow the official narratives despite that these scripts are always half-truths, deceptions, and lies — see “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room –The Holocaustal Covid-19 Coronavirus Madness: A Sociological Perspective & Historical Assessment Of The Covid “Phenomenon”” …

    “To be a celebrity within the oligarchic empire is, with very few notable exceptions, to be an agent of that empire. The weird plastic-faced freaks who fill our screens and shape our worldviews are as much a part of the oppression machine as the Pentagon.” — Caitlin Johnstone, Independent Journalist

  2. The Woke are waking up. Their party has been captured by the Corporate War Party. They control the money system and the media and as an extension the politicians and half the people who are too decent to contemplate the high functioning psychopaths in charge. The mind control is so pervasive they can get anti war people to buy into funding Neo Nazis. If you want to get a quick explanation of what is happening in Ukraine here’s a Jimmy Dore eye opener. Watch it and then pass it on.

  3. like in the old days when the Moral Majority wanted art to die.

    Guess he still clings to some stereotypes, hmm? Who exactly wanted to “kill art?” I recall people objecting to gratuitous sexuality snd violence in movies, saying it would lower cultural standards. Hard to argue that hasn’t happened. Or objecting to aggressively offensive or scatalogical “art” like “Piss Christ.” That means they wanted to “kill art?” Were people objecting to offensive racial stereotypes trying “kill art” too?

    He sounds like Bill Maher. Very late to the party. Finally aware that the “Left” has become authoritarian, but still clinging to his own dull stereotypes about conservatives. The “Moral Majority,” for god’s sake?

  4. Kind of EASY to make that stance NOW!! I know “hindsight” is 20/20, but in a a LOT of cases (especially with DEMOcrats in power) it’s best to NOT trust the Government “experts”! Robbins is like most of the other libers and sees that horrible effects of programs and people they supported but NOW want to be on the other side! But for how long?? I’d bet a month’s SS that he still votes a straight D ticket!

    1. Yeah, but as a Hollywood resident, most of the people here are still insisting the lockdown and forced booster shots was the right thing to do and then regurgitate some nonsense statistic about how many people are dying in Florida because of DeSantis. Atleast give Robbins his due for showing humility and admitting he was wrong.

      1. I have been turned off by Robbins’ politics for a long time, but agree that we should give him points for speaking out now, whether or not it redeems his past (or any continuing bad policy stances).

    1. Nothing but your usual hard core marxist hollywood elitist.. Note how quiet the thug is about his potato comrade.. He only speaks up when there is republican President.. we are sooo over this bad actor !!!

    2. She didn’t dump him. They broke up years ago. She only went on her “I dumped him” tour because he immediately had a new girlfriend making it obvious he had moved long before she “dumped him”.

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