It’s a wonder today’s stars have enough time to sing, dance or otherwise entertain us. Most are so busy campaigning for Hillary Clinton it’s hard to squeeze in their day jobs.
Celebrity PSAs. A-list fundraisers. Going door to door (Miley Cyrus). Campaign-style concerts (Jay-Z). Reunion efforts (“Will & Grace,” “The West Wing”). The recent 30 Days, 30 Anti-Trump Songs cycle. Even a 50-minute video targeting the GOP nominee (“Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal” starring Johnny Depp). Not to be outdone, Madonna offered a sexual favor, in jest, for anyone pulling the lever for Hillary Clinton come Nov. 8.
It’s become the norm for stars to share their views on presidential campaigns. This year, though, is different. The sheer volume of presidential endorsements, 98 percent of which lean in Hillary Clinton’s direction, is unprecedented.
For Hollywood denizens, it’s a perfect storm of self-congratulation, bubble living and a need to stoke headlines.
It doesn’t hurt a star’s clout within the industry to trash Trump. In fact, it’s likely a career enhancer. Boosting Clinton’s campaign is a way to rock the Hollywood cocktail circuit. It also reflects the cocooned nature of modern show business. Too many stars sound oblivious to Clinton’s transgressions:
- The Clinton Foundation’s pay-to-play scam.
- Kissing up to Wall Street in private while publicly wooing the Bernie Sanders crowd
- The email imbroglio.
- The WikiLeaks embarrassments, which grow worse with every revelation.
To hear these stars praise Clinton one would think it's still last year's primary cycle when these damning revelations had yet to come to light. Does the average celebrity ever read credible, right-of-center news sites? Or do they flit from The New York Times to John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and back to Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal to get their news?
Conservatives can be guilty of luxuriating in their own Fox News/talk radio echo chamber. The same is likely true for modern stars and starlets.
Getting political is also a fine way to drum up media mentions. Trash Trump, and you’re guaranteed to appear on most, if not all, of the major Hollywood sites. Guess who just “destroyed” Donald Trump? Click! Chances are, the reporters in question will either cite those statements without spin or share a gentle “atta boy/girl” in the process. Voila! Your name is in the press and so might be the title of your new show/movie/album. That’s a twofer.
All of this political noise comes with a price. And it might be heavier than ever before.
Audiences are already sick of select stars and their bruising political views. Spend all of five minutes with conservatives on social media, and you’ll find out how exhausted many are with stars shoving their voting preferences in their face.
Sean Penn may be one of our finest actors, but plenty of folk won’t spend a nickel to see him on screen. Why? Penn has savaged their views once too often.
Don’t think that frustration ends then and there. Consider the box office failures from comic star Zach Galifianakis in the past month. His two most recent comedies, “Keeping Up with the Joneses” and “Masterminds,” both tanked.
Could it be connected to Galifianakis’ partisan “Between Two Ferns” sketch featuring the former First Lady? What about how he vowed never to have a “mentally challenged” candidate like Trump on his faux talk show?
Trump fans aren’t known for their thick skin. Does anyone doubt they’ll remember these slights well beyond Nov. 8?
Of course, celebrities can say what they want, when they want. Free speech still exists even in our safe space culture.
Consumers have the same rights. And, after a year of having their views mocked by the Hollywood elite, they may speak up by shutting their wallets.