Ice Cube, Chris Pratt, and the Hollywood Cause Célèbre

FILE - In this June 16, 2018 file photo, Chris Pratt arrives at the MTV Movie and TV Awards at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. Pratt says "it's not an easy time" as he and the rest of the "Guardians of the Galaxy" cast look to the future of the hit superhero franchise after Disney fired writer-director James Gunn. Pratt told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, that he stands behind social media posts saying he hopes Gunn can be reinstated for the next movie. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

 

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of either Ice Cube or Chris Pratt. Both men are handsome, talented, innovative and all that; but I have never combed the pages of People, scoured TMZ or the other gossip zines for news on them. I have better things to do with my time.

But as a curious opinion writer, I do look at Twitter trending topics, and both men have been the toast of social media the last few days because they have broken the unspoken rule of Hollywood: Celebrities don’t think for themselves, they think what we want them to think.

Cube and Pratt have come under recent fire because of their political stances (or lack thereof). It was revealed last week that Ice Cube is working with the Trump administration, incorporating key elements of his Contract With Black America into Trump’s Platinum Plan.

I wrote on Friday, “Unlike the Rock and other Black celebrities who have endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, Cube is looking for who has the best solutions, and who will render the biggest payout in order to invest in solutions for the Black community.”

 

Vulture has breathlessly followed Ice Cube’s MAGA partnership with mixed feelings:

“In some not particularly chill news, rapper and actor Ice Cube has apparently been working with Trump’s reelection campaign on issues pertaining to the Black community. The unlikely partnership was first made known to the public yesterday via Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser for the Trump administration, who tweeted […]”

This announcement by the Trump camp, which reportedly came as a surprise to Cube who probably would have preferred to announce it himself, caused many in Hollywood, the Rap world, and the Twittersphere to light their hair on fire. Comedienne Jackée Harry’s tweet showed the lighter side of the outrage:

Ice Cube continues to clarify his position in interviews and on his Twitter feed, and he has received support from other Pro-Black Community types, like Boyce Watkins.

We don’t like to talk plantation language on this page, no matter how closely the analogy fits. So instead, let’s call it the Hollywood reservation. Ice Cube went off the reservation, and now, clutch the pearls, Chris Pratt is also AWOL.

This morning, Pratt was trending. Apparently he is being cancelled again (how many times is this?) for the temerity to not show up at a Biden fundraiser put on by his Marvel compatriots the Russo Bros.

From my colleague Brandon Morse:

“They’re currently accusing him of being a white supremacist and a Trump supporter. They’re doing so because the Avengers directors, the Russo brothers, held an Avengers-themed event with many of the Avengers actors in attendance in an attempt to raise money for Democrat candidate Joe Biden.

“Pratt was not among them, but he wasn’t the only absent one. Robert Downey, Jr. wasn’t there either, but RDJ isn’t telling kids the importance of Christ. Pratt is.”

Now everybody hates Chris, and Pop Crush wonders why.

“On Friday (October 2), the actor shared a post encouraging people to vote. He wasn’t referring to the upcoming presidential election, though. He was asking followers to vote for his film Onward to win a 2020 People’s Choice Award.

“ ‘With all that’s going on in the world it is more important than ever that you vote. Just ask any celebrity. They will tell you. Every day. Several times a day. To vote. But me? I will tell you EXACTLY who to vote for. #onward,” Pratt posted on Instagram. “The upcoming 2020 People’s Choice Awards is the most consequential vote in the history of mankind times a million infinity. Vote for #Onward for family movie of the year. Or else. You WILL die. No hyperbole. Click the link in my bio. Let your voice be heard.’ ”

This is the most consequential election of our lifetime—how dare he ask you to vote for his animated picture?!

Not only is he not taking it seriously, but the fact that he did not support a Biden-focused event could only mean he is a MAGA-hat wearing Trumper. Oh, the humanity! Are people rending and burning their Guardians of the Galaxy Peter Quill gear yet?

How do we know he doesn’t support Jo Jorgenson? Or Kanye West? Why the binary thinking that if you do not support Biden, then you are automatically for Trump?

It’s so Hollywood.

Morse points to Pratt’s vocal and unapologetic faith as the locus of people’s rage, but I think it’s bigger that that. Patricia Heaton talks about her faith and conservative views all the time, and she hasn’t received the Cancel Culture ire. Granted, she’s no longer the name that Chris Pratt now is, but she’s still established Hollywood.

Ice Cube is aligned with the Nation of Islam, a religion that is on the Hollywood-approved list, so Cube escapes by that standard.

No, I think the crux is Hollywood likes its celebrities, and especially its A-List ones, in lockstep and compliant to the cause célèbre, whatever that might be on that particular day; could be #BLM, a few years ago it was #MeToo and #TimesUp—if the hashtag fits….

Today, it’s getting rid of “Orange Man Bad” and installing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House. Cube has flat out said he will not endorse anybody; his focus is the Black Community and who will promise and deliver the investment. The Biden camp wanted to beg him off until after the election, but the Trump camp stepped up to the plate: Point Trump, but awful optics for the Hollywood cause célèbre.

As vocal as he is about his Christian beliefs, Pratt is (as far as we know) agnostic in terms of his political ones. So far he is not commenting either way who he supports and who he doesn’t, and he may never. No, Pratt simply did not show up for a fundraiser that was pro-Biden. In the Church of Hollywood, this translates into apostasy.

Cube and Pratt have gone off the reservation. They are men who freely think for themselves, and have no problem being vocal about their particular beliefs that do not match the cause célèbre liturgy. This just does not happen—God forbid that you encourage your audience to think for themselves! They might start critiquing us! (see: Netflix/Cuties). They might stop ingesting our product! (see: Netflix/Cuties)

What Hollywood and its acolytes really want is is a Drew Brees-type groveling apology for daring to step outside of groupthink. Cube is having none of it, the jury is still out on Chris.

For as much as I do care, I personally hope he doesn’t cave. Hollywood could use another comeuppance.