Hollywood's war on Trump is part of liberal America's 'resistance'
Hollywood's hatred of Trump will keep biting Democrats at the polls
President Trump can be wildly unpredictable and cold to political friends and foes alike. He's routinely his own worst enemy and puts the truth at arm's length too often.
But he's our commander in chief, and right now he's the target of unprecedented hate from Hollywood. Johnny Depp's "joke" about it being time to assassinate a president again is merely the latest example.
Actor Corey Stoll calls his participation in a "Julius Caesar" adaptation that leaves the Trump-like leader soaked in stage blood his method of "resistance."
Kathy Griffin thought it would be a hoot to hold up a fake Trump head covered in blood, duplicating a horrific ISIS-style propaganda video. Madonna shared how she considered blowing up the White House shortly after President Trump took office.
Director Rob Reiner called for an "all out war" on Twitter to "resist" the Trump administration. And all of this is after a campaign season where Sarah Silverman, Tom Green and Louis CK compared Trump to Hitler.
Is this any way for Hollywood to treat a president? More importantly, what's the potential fallout? It clearly could impact the stars' bottom lines. Red state types, influenced by left-leaning boycotts, may stop seeing their movies or buying their products. Superhero franchises are likely immune from this potential threat. So are movies with the name "star" or "wars" in them.
Yet the boycott threat looms all the same. It might extend to stars that aren't as outrageous as Griffin, Depp or Reiner. Zach Galifianakis starred in two back-to-back bombs last September, shortly after his withering comments against candidate Trump.
Scarlett Johansson, a gorgeous, talented star with a strong box office resume, suffered two of her own box office debacles in recent weeks. She's taken on a much more public platform as a liberal activist of late, appearing in that infamous "Save the Day" campaign video last year on candidate Hillary Clinton's behalf. She's also been vocal in her support for Planned Parenthood.
Yet the stars may not care if their activism costs them at the box office. During Jack Black's promotional push for his 2015 comedy Goosebumps this reporter asked the actor that very question. When asked if his political outreach could negatively impact his career, he laughed and said no.
Politically-charged stars, particularly fire breathers like Depp, may damage something more precious than some extra zeroes on their paychecks: their ability to change hearts and minds.
For a while now stars have tried to leverage their fame to help their pet causes: immigration, healthcare, the Second Amendment, and border control. They leverage their media platforms and film-friendly charm to tweak a mind or two, or maybe more.
It's hard to quantify their specific impact. They wouldn't try to influence the masses, though, if they assumed their appeals would fall on deaf ears. It's the same reason companies spend millions of dollars on advertisements. Sometimes they work.
Times are changing when it comes to star appeals, though. How many independents will see the aforementioned antics and start tuning out celebrity pleas for candidate A, B, or C? It might have started already.
Hollywood turned out en masse for Clinton. At times it made the Tinsel Town love for President Obama look modest by comparison. She lost all the same.
We just saw Hollywood pour its collective might into the special election in Georgia's 6th District. Samuel Jackson recorded a political ad on Democrat Jon Ossoff's behalf. Stars including Rosie O'Donnell, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Sean Daniel, Sam Waterston, and Kyra Sedgwick flooded his coffers with cash. Actress Alyssa Milano used her Twitter account like a campaign office, firing off missies to help team Ossoff.
Republican strategists made it backfire. One group even tied the Democrat's campaign to Griffin's uniformly unpopular ISIS image of Trump. The GOP's response to this "liberal elite" influence hit home for many voters. And it might work again on a national level come 2018 and 2020. It appears there's little course correction in sight.
The industry occasionally pretends to acknowledge what Trump's election represents in our current culture. ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey vowed shortly after the election to consider rural American sensibilities while programming her network. Then ABC canceled Last Man Standing, a rare right-of-center sitcom.
There's still plenty of time for celebrities to take a knee and rethink their political outreach. They can stop comparing Trump voters to KKK members, as Amy Schumer did shortly after Election Day.
They might even avoid partisan stump speeches when collecting awards for their hard work. A simple "thank you" works just as well. If they double down on their current, violent "resistance," they may find their influence peddling coming up empty again.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.