BY RICK MORAN , THE AMERICAN THINKER : JULY 23, 2008
He was very lonely and extremely depressed about his struggling career.
JONATHAN BRANDIS : 1976 – 2003
THEY MEET SURREPTITIOUSLY IN BARS, RESTAURANTS AND PRIVATE HOMES. THEY LIVE IN CONSTANT FEAR THAT THEY MIGHT BE DISCOVERED. IF THEY WERE, IT MIGHT MEAN THE VIRTUAL END TO THEIR CAREERS. THEY NEVER SPEAK OF THEIR ACTIVITIES. AND ON THOSE RARE OCCASIONS THEY SPEAK TO THE PRESS, THEY REFUSE TO GIVE THE NAMES OF ANYONE ELSE IN THE GROUP.
WHO ARE THESE FOLKS? ANTI-COMMUNIST REBELS? FREEDOM FIGHTERS FROM SOME WOEBEGONE DICTATORSHIP? MAYBE AN AL-QAEDA CELL BENT ON DESTROYING US?
NOPE. THEY’RE HOLLYWOOD CONSERVATIVES.
A group of politically conservative and centrist Hollywood figures organized by actor Gary Sinise and others has been meeting quietly in restaurants and private homes, forming a loosely-knit network of entertainers who share common beliefs like supporting U.S. troops and traditional American values.
Some of those involved are taking more public steps to counter the entertainment industry’s tilt toward liberalism and Democratic Party politics, such as campaigning for Republican Senator John McCain or crafting projects to portray America in a more positive light.
The group, whose members call themselves, “FRIENDS OF ABE”, after Abraham Lincoln, was organized as an underground movement because of fears that prominent industry titans with outspoken liberal views would retaliate, said participants. They often were reluctant to name members of the group in interviews for fear it would hurt their careers.
“It’s a growing movement and word is getting out that there’s many of us in this business,” said 1950s singer Pat Boone, one of the few conservatives to talk about the movement publicly. “If certain studio execs – hirers and firers – learn that this is a growing movement and that some of the people they hire are of this inclination, these people could be unemployed.”
Friends of Abe has functioned like a support group, organizing informal gatherings where actors, producers, screenwriters, key grips and other industry types can share common values or discuss concerns like anti-Americanism in Hollywood movies or the perception of industry bias against conservatives and Republicans.
THAT SUCH A THING IS NECESSARY IN AMERICA IS SICKENING BUT ALSO QUITE REVEALING.
FOR ALL THEIR TALK OF “TOLERANCE”, LIBERALS IN HOLLYWOOD ARE A BUNCH OF BLOWHARDS.
HOLLYWOOD LIBERALS ONLY TOLERATE THOSE WHO AGREE WITH THEM. ALL OTHERS ARE THE DEVIL INCARNATE.
The movement has grown over the past few years from gatherings of a few dozen to one last month that drew more than 600 to a billionaire’s California estate, Mr. Boone said.
People familiar with the movement credited Mr. Sinise, whose roles range from the blockbuster movie “Forrest Gump” to the TV show “CSI : New York”, for helping organize the movement.
Sinise spokeswoman Staci Wolfe said the actor was traveling with a band to entertain U.S. troops overseas and was unavailable for an interview. She would say only: “He is not registered with any political party.”
Participants said FRIENDS OF ABE is not partisan but rather functions as a support group where Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike can discuss issues they care about. And the low-key gatherings at restaurants and homes have given conservatives a safe place to meet and express their views, they added.
“A FRIEND OF ABE is someone who has reverence for those who serve in our military and believes that American liberal democracy is a unique success, different from others, and it’s worthy of the respect of our popular culture and of Hollywood in particular,” said screenwriter Lionel Chetwynd who helped organize FRIENDS OF ABE luncheons when they began four years ago.
Mr. Chetwynd said FRIENDS OF ABE generally find themselves at odds with the rhetoric of their hard-left colleagues in Hollywood.
Craig Haffner, a producer who also attended the gatherings, said “FRIENDS OF ABE is not a political action group; people are gravitating to it because they love their country.”
While the group is not organizing any political activities, some of its members are taking action into their own hands.
Actor Jon Voight, Pat Boone, Lionel Chetwynd and Craig Haffner have stepped forward and actively campaigned for John McCain’s presidential bid. Mr. Boone said he talked to McCain’s campaign staffers last week about how he and other stars can help. Supporters now are assembling a formal organization for Mr. McCain in Hollywood, a few of the leaders said.
Meanwhile, many want to produce more movies and theater projects with a positive American message and stronger emphasis on positive cultural values instead of films that paint America as “the great Satan”. Mr. Chetwynd said such efforts have been under way for several years well before the FRIENDS OF ABE luncheons began.
A PROJECT WITH A CONSERVATIVE TAKE ON ISSUES HAS AS MUCH CHANCE OF BEING MADE IN HOLLYWOOD AS A MOVIE WITHOUT SEX – FEW AND FAR BETWEEN.
Actor Kelsey Grammer, a Republican, is aware of the group but won’t comment further, his publicist said.
David Horowitz, another Hollywood conservative and founder of the Los Angeles based Center For The Study Of Popular Culture, said the group is serving a good purpose but he worries that its members won’t be aggressive enough.
“There’s a kind of intellectual terror in this town. People are terrorized; they’re afraid to say what they think. So what Gary is doing to provide aid and comfort to its victims is admirable and I applaud him for it,” he said. “But my concern is it’s not going to be much more than that.”
GOOD LUCK TO THOSE FEW IN HOLLYWOOD WHO FOLLOW THE BEAT OF THAT DIFFERENT DRUMMER AND REFUSE TO WALK IN LOCKSTEP WITH THE REST OF THE INDUSTRY.
( “Hollywood’s Conservative Underground” by Amy Fagan, The Washington Times : July 23, 2008 )