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Hollywood's Political Game

Kathy Willens

This is not the first, nor will it be the last, piece published at RedState about celebrities in Hollywood and the political world. I bet there are as many opinions by Conservatives on this topic as there are about how the finale of the 2020 election cycle is going at the moment. In fact, I thought people could use a break from the predominant chatter over the election and the president and his campaign lawyers, et cetera.

Another reason I’m writing it is as a counterpoint of sorts to a piece Brandon Morse wrote in these pages just a couple days ago, “The Turning of the Hollywood Tide.” It was a hopeful peek into the smatterings of Hollywood denizens who seem to be coming around about those of us on the right—or, at least, seeing enough of a reason to urge other people to listen to people with a different opinion without shouting “Nazi” or “Islamophobe.” Many people are familiar with the late, media genius Andrew Breitbart’s groundbreaking thinking on how Hollywood and the Democrat-Media Complex work in tandem to build and perpetuate their chosen, progressive narratives. (If you’re not, this 2009 interview with the Hoover Institution is a great place to start.)

Another thing that Breitbart said about Hollywood is that it’s a closed shop politically. If you don’t espouse (or silently tolerate) the status quo, you won’t stay in the entertainment industry for long. Even your political donations and whom you socialize with will be scrutinized and weaponized. I remember when I first heard him speak, in the interview linked above, about a group of industry people who met in secret, because it was the only safe way they could. He also shared this chilling anecdote with interviewer Peter Robinson:

“The first job I took in Los Angeles was working for a producer, and he asked me to take Senator Frank Lautenberg around. And I took him to Don Henley’s house. The senator from New Jersey came out and said, ‘Hey, he’s going to do a fundraiser for me. He’s going to perform, and all of the celebrities are going to come.’

I started to figure out how this system works. What does New Jersey have to do with Don Henley and Los Angeles? That’s fine and good, if that’s legal.

What I find offensive in this system is that the conservatives that I know in Hollywood, and there are a lot, cannot give money, because through a simple, FEC [Federal Elections Commission] search, their names will come up as Republicans. And then, the word will spread around town that they are a Republican.

There is a strong likelihood that many of the people, who would have ordinarily hired them, will not hire them.”

Breitbart went on to give an example of this in action, relating to the then-recent Proposition 108 (which would bar gay marriage in the state of California). “Those people who donated as little as $100 [to the pro-Prop 108 cause] were isolated.”

This is all a preface to a story I saw today about Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro appearing on ABC talk show “The View.” And it isn’t so much about what he said, or who he said it about, but what it tells us about the way Hollywood plays the political game. In this case, De Niro happens to be speaking about Pres. Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Take a listen:

The Hill:

Robert De Niro blasted Rudy Giuliani’s work with the Trump campaign to dispute election results across the country, saying the former New York City mayor is now “representing a mob family.”

During an appearance on “The View,” co-host Sunny Hostin asked the actor what happened to Giuliani. She pointed out that he used to be a federal prosecutor.

“Giuliani used to prosecute actual mob bosses in the ’80s in federal court,” said Hostin, who is also former federal prosecutor. “What happened to him?”

“He’s the one who was prosecuting under the RICO Act, the way I understand it,” De Niro said in response. “And now he’s representing a mob family.”

“It’s crazy … I don’t know what happened to him. I feel bad for him,” he added.

There was more like that (and you’re welcome to hear it all on the video above), but one sentence really laid bare how these people (and their counterparts in the Washington, D.C. swamp) think. (Emphasis mine)

He added that Giuliani would receive more praise for speaking out against the president.

“I can’t understand because it’s just as easy to say ‘Look, I can’t buy into this, I can’t go along with this. It’s over, I’m out!’ ” De Niro said. “And he’d have so much respect and people would hire him, and want to hire him, and he’s going this other way, it’s just nuts.”

Do you see what he did there? This is how they convince people to go along to get along — whether in the backrooms of the studio system or the bowels of the U.S. Senate. It’s in your best interests, you see. “C’mon, it’s easy, just say what these people want you to say, believe what these tastemakers and prominent Hollywood people want you to believe. And you’ll be invited over for a Don Henley concert and mingle with Gwyneth Paltrow and Barbra Streisand. You’ll get respected and rewarded for it, on top of all that.”

When this is the game they play, it’s better to tell the dealer you’d rather fold than put more money on the table.

 

Read also: this new, VIP piece from Brandon on Friday: The Morse Code Ep. 37: We Don’t Live in a Democracy

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