He was very lonely and extremely depressed about his struggling career.
1976 – 2003
HOLLYWOOD – It might have been the first premiere not intended for the public: John Kerry topping the credits and John Edwards in a supporting role, the cast rounded out by A-list actors who hopped into the fund-raising limelight to prostrate themselves at the feet of the most culturally liberal presidential ticket in history.
After Whoopi Goldberg wowed the Democratic crowd with locker room musings on the alternate meaning of our president’s name and Mr. Kerry scooped up a foot locker of entertainers’ cash, eyes were rolling outside New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Somewhere in a La – La land far, far away, in Hollywood and across the outlying Valley hamlets, everyday actors, writers, directors, producers and crew members dreamed of the day when the world would see that not everyone in the entertainment business lives to choke – gag – on his own foot.
These minorities, these aliens too often undocumented, these artists sorely underrepresented at loudmouthed fund-raising galas are better known as HOLLYWOOD REPUBLICANS.
Along with not succumbing to the casting couch and not dating your co-stars, one of the unwritten rules in Hollywood has been not coming out of the GOP closet. Actress EMMA CAULFIELD ( “Darkness Falls” ) was slammed when she said she would campaign for Elizabeth Dole. “I would never fully admit to being a Republican in this town,” she later told PREMIERE magazine. “I want to work.”
So what’s a Republican to do in Hollywood when you want to create entertainment for the masses and not a political statement tailor-made for the liberal elites, or just want to safely say, “I like Bush” ( not int the Whoopi sense ) within 50 feet of a producer? Will you just end up Bambi to a studio Godzilla?
According to MARK VAFIADES, president of The Hollywood Congress of Republicans ( hollywoodrepublicans.com ), Hollywood Republicans do suffer discrimination, sometimes losing work for their political views. “We hear the stories all the time,” he says, noting that while it’s hard to prove, it’s kind of obvious when actors get cut from auditions right after the subject of politics is brought up.
Hollywood culture, for all of its intended creativity, does tend to resemble a massive flock. Ask any producer what he craves in a script, and he’s begging or pleading for something he hasn’t seen before. In this culture, wearing a John Kerry button becomes as important as scoring that Hermes Birkin bag and praising the creative genius of Michael Moore is mandatory. Showbiz types who lift the Democratic banner and think Che is cool delight in seeing themselves as revolutionary and anti-establishment when they’re really playing into the Hollywood establishment and its herd mentality.
So a Republican in Hollywood is a true nonconformist. That’s hot.
In addition to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tinseltown rebels include Bo Derek, Bruce Willis, Tom Selleck, Dennis Miller, Mel Gibson, Chuck Norris, Ben Stein, Pat Sajak, Kelsey Grammer, Danny Aiello, Patricia Heaton and James Woods. “I love George Bush right now and I always have,” Mr. Woods told Jay Leno in 2001. “I’m the only guy in L.A. who voted for him.
Where did the notion of compulsory leftist party registration in Hollywood come from anyway? The first theory is that it’s the aftereffect of the BLACKLISTING era that has cast conservatives in the role of industry enemies, a tradition carried on by those not even conceived yet in the 1950s.
The more likely answer is simple : Liberalism is akin to a long-running Hollywood fad. Personal accountability can be a foreign concept when you have a publicist to get you out of any jam. Taxes are easier to swallow when you bring in $ 10 million a film. Marxism sounds vaguely groovy and compassionate when you live in the Hollywood Hills, as opposed to under any of the regimes responsible for between 85 million and 100 million deaths in the last century. Celebs like to see it as a heightened global consciousness — excluding global realities like, say, terrorism — and make their scheduled appearances for the television cameras on Skid Row, dishing out turkey and green beans for the homeless.
Mr. Aiello told WABC radio in 2001 his thoughts on why Hollywood leans left : “I think many of them are very comfortable with money and don’t have to subject themselves to anything other than say, ‘Hey, maybe I’m guilty for having all this and I want to make-believe I’m splitting it with the less fortunate.’ ”
For all the Barbra Streisands and Danny Glovers in Hollywood though, there are those who booed Michael Moore’s anti-Bush rant at the 2003 Oscars. Making it a bit easier for Hollywood Republicans to come out of the political closet has been The Wednesday Morning Club – steering committee includes Oscar winning screen legend ROBERT DUVALL and Icon Pictures executive Steve McEverty ( “Braveheart” ) – and The Hollywood Congress Of Republicans, which christened Mr. Moore July’s “Jackass of the Month”. In fact, Mr. Vafiades explains Mr. Moore was last year’s “Jackass of the Year” and still hasn’t picked up his trophy, described as “the back part of a donkey”, for that honor. Come on Mike, don’t be a sore loser!
Even with safe havens, it’s hard to get a read on how many Republicans exist here, though people like to predict this on the basis of mouthy A-list stars alone. Your ballot is secret, there’s no exit poll outside Spago, and the only way people guess who’s what is through donation and celebrity meddling. Even looking at donations though, one sees that often a celebrity will give to candidates from both parties or switch the party to which he donates from one year to the next.
And it’s simply easier for actors whose livelihoods and dreams don’t stand at the mercy of the liberal Hollywood ax to come out of that political closet – for example, action stars whose Republican status fulfills the renegade image their careers already crafted. Open Republicans say there are many more in the wings than we might imagine. Big names fearful of having their careers dented.
MR. DUVALL, talking to GEORGE magazine in 1999, put the situation in perspective: “My theory is that no matter how many enemies you make, you can always work for their enemies.”
You could say that the Hollywood elite is liberal, but it’s interesting to note the makeup of the Hollywood Congress of Republicans: the working class of struggling actors, directors, producers. “We’re the guys who have the most difficulty expressing our views,” says Mr. Vafiades because they have the most to lose. But the young organization’s meetings attract more members each time. “It’s getting closer to the day when it will be acceptable to be GOP,” Mr. Vafiades adds.
It makes sense that the Hollywood working class identifies with the Republican message. One screenplay sale can bump you to the highest tax bracket that year but who knows when your next sale ( if any ) will be and how long you’ll have to stretch that income out? Meanwhile, you’ve been branded as “rich” and a large chunk of your hard-earned money is for the taking, as you plan for a future career making lattes at Starbucks.
Interestingly, for an industry that ranks as one of the largest sectors of the economy, bloviating liberal celebrities who see themselves as beacons of peace and hope don’t do any good for the business. A 2002 poll by The Hollywood Reporter found the least-admired political celebrities to be Jane Fonda ( 11.8% ), Charlton Heston ( 10.8% ), Alec Baldwin ( 10.6% ), Barbra Streisand ( 10.5% ) and Rosie O’Donnell ( 9.2% ). Four liberals and just one conservative in the doghouse. The poll also found that 44.3% of moviegoers wouldn’t fork over the cash to see a film that “starred an outspoken actor or actress they disagreed with”. And 76.5% of American adults say “they disapprove of Oscar presenters and winners injecting politics into the show”.
Here’s a winner for everyone: the drama “HOLLYWOOD POLITICS”. Act I was “Commie Blacklisting”. Act II is “Revenge Of The Liberals” and Act III, yet untitled, is a climax that ends, like most epic struggles ( e.g. “Open Space” ), with freedom for the oppressed. It’s just too bad the movie’s dragged on so long.
( “Rebels With A Cause : Are Hollywood Republicans On The Verge Of A Big Break?” by Bridget Johnson, http://www.opinionjournal.com : July 21, 2004 )