2012: Famed self-deprecating, ‘red-neck’, Republican comedian Jeff Foxworthy tries to reignite his slowly waning career by posing for a photo-shoot, holding the bloody severed head of President Barrack Obama.
As expected the Twitterverse reaction is cataclysmic, the most prominent emanating from Hollywood. Oprah Winfrey castigates Foxworthy in a live televised address to the nation. Lady Gaga holds a candle light vigil in front of the Whitehouse in support of Obama. Katie Perry releases a new song ‘We all just need to co-exist’ with proceeds going to the Obama family. Jon Stewart weeps openly on live television.
Of course, this never happened, but it’s funny because we know it bears distinct parallels with reality.
2017: Comedian Kathy Griffin tries to reignite her slowly waning career by posing for a photo-shoot holding the bloody severed head of President Trump.
And rightly, Twitter explodes with outrage. The Secret Service tweets that all threats against those they protect are taken seriously. One of the hosts of ‘The View’ tweets that the photo was disgusting. In fact, there’s been a long list of outraged small ‘l’ liberals taking to Twitter to announce that while they hated Trump, they found this stunt just plain wrong.
But where are the celebrities who ‘love Trump’s hate’. Where is the outrage from Gaga, Perry and Stewart? Where’s Oprah’s tweet about the sanctity of the Office of President? Where is Dwayne Johnson, telling us that as an apparent candidate for the Presidential election in 2020, ‘The Rock’ is sickened by this attack on the current President.
Hollywood’s conga line of political commentators have been silent on the Griffin stunt. It’s likely they just chuckled and rested upon the same lines Griffin herself used in her own defence; the photos were merely ‘an expression of art’.
The sense of social entitlement of Hollywood celebrities is epitomised in their silence on the Griffin photos.
They truly believe they have the monopoly on what is socially acceptable in the public realm. Statements that would be shouted down with shrieks of outrage if spoken from conservative lips are perfectly acceptable as long as they come from the mouth of one of the anointed priests of Hollywood.
Approaching the Presidential Election, Hollywood priestess Jennifer Lawrence appeared on the Graham Norton show in the UK. She joked that while at a function she heard Trump was also attending, she had her security detail try and locate him just so she could yell ‘Hey Trump, f— you!’.
Titter, titter. Now imagine if the star of ‘Last Man Standing‘ and vocal opponent of Hillary Clinton, Tim Allen had revealed he’d had his entourage stalk the Democrat candidate so he could verbally abuse her. The Hollywood Vatican would issue andI don’t think so Tim’ and his career resurgence would abruptly come to an end.
On the election of Trump, Hollywood royal, Robert De Niro claimed that he felt the same as he did on the morning of September 11, when Islamic extremists murdered over 3,000 of his fellow citizens. I dare say the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks felt somewhat differently.
What a sickening insult to compare an undesired political outcome to the murder of innocent people.
And of course, there was no call for retraction by De Niro’s fellow celebrity clergy.
This sense of social entitlement worn by Hollywood celebrities is also the reason for their disconnect with real people. Testament to this is their utter shock and dismay that outside their bubble of New York City and California, Americans don’t necessarily think the way they do when it comes to politics.
It was refreshing, therefore, to hear a lone voice from the bowels of Tinsel Town address celebrity’s unrealistic self-assessment.
In late 2016, action-comedy superstar Mark Wahlberg said in an interview, “A lot of celebrities did, do, and shouldn’t [talk politics]. They might buy your CD or watch your movie, but you don’t put food on their table. You don’t pay their bills. A lot of Hollywood is living in a bubble. They’re pretty out of touch with the common person, the everyday guy out there providing for their family.”
Wahlberg’s message to his fellow celebrities is simple. You are actors. You fulfil our need to be told a story, no more, no less. So like everyone else in the world, please shut up and get on with your job.
Brad Emery is a blogger and former Howard government adviser.
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