Hollywood goes low when it takes on Trump

Hollywood goes low when it takes on Trump
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When Meryl Streep speaks, people listen.

The actress owns three Oscars and more iconic films on her resume than most of her peers. So when she turned her 2017 Cecil B. DeMille award speech at the Golden Globes into an anti-Donald Trump screed it rocked the news cycle. Her colleagues, in turn, cheered in agreement.

And then, inexplicably, those colleagues doubled down on the same ugly rhetoric Streep slammed during that six-minute stemwinder. Will undecided voters tune out Hollywood's progressive message as a result?

Streep's speech hammered Trump for allegedly mocking a disabled reporter with clumsy hand gestures:

"It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can't get it out my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was in real life. That instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everybody's life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing."

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Trump supporters explained away the moment by saying Trump routinely serves up similar impressions to his political foes, pointing to previous video clips as proof.  

 

Let's say, for argument's sake, Trump's gestures were as cruel as his accusers allege. It's certainly part of his pre-presidential persona, using brute rhetorical force against his opponents.

One need only recall how he mocked Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke calls for Trump's impeachment over Putin summit Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate rips his own parents for donations to Dems The Memo: Trump leaves chaos in his wake in UK MORE's (R-Texas) wife and alleged the senator's father played a role in President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Ugly stuff. Many Democrats and Republicans denounced it at the time. Some conservatives still haven't forgiven Trump for those comments.

Streep's speech scored based on Trump's incendiary attacks, past and present. But she's been silent all the same despite the increasingly outrageous comments coming from her well-heeled peers.

The following is but a very partial list.

Who can forget D-list comic Kathy Griffin holding Trump's faux-severed head high? Or Johnny Depp saying it's time for another actor to assassinate the president, referencing John Wilkes Booth? Just days ago, the legendary Robert De Niro used his Tony Awards podium privilege to shout "F--- Trump" while the industry crowd stood up and cheered.

What's worse about Hollywood's nasty behavior? Much of the industry's ire is aimed at people other than President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE. The best example comes courtesy of TBS star Samantha Bee. The comic called first daughter Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpIvanka Trump's fashion line dropped from Hudson's Bay due to 'performance' Trump's harsh immigration policies are a gift for human traffickers Let’s not talk about family leave without talking about child care MORE a "feckless c---" on her weekly show, a taped program that demands considerable planning, production and forethought.

Not only did Hollywood rally to protect Bee's job, they cheered on her verbal assault. Self-described feminists like Minnie Driver and Sally Field used Twitter to magnify Bee's vicious comments.  

Comedian Seth Meyers and Griffin said she shouldn’t lose her job for the comments.

Comedians routinely mock First Lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpQueen Elizabeth wore brooch from Obamas on the day Trump arrived in the UK: reports Watchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump denies Russian interference at presser with Putin MORE, too. To take one example, Jim Jefferies grossly sexualized her in his Comedy Central program.

First family members are typically protected in our culture. Not anymore.

The attacks hardly end there. "Avengers" director Joss Whedon's Twitter feed is routinely more cruel than what Roseanne Barr says on a given day. Whedon once mocked cancer-stricken teens in order to attack Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Kelly lobbied Republicans to rebuke Trump after Putin press conference: report Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.). Whedon also predicted the Trump administration would eventually target and kill gay Americans in a separate tweet.  Singer John Legend cursed out Ryan for simply sending out a pro-Father's Day tweet.

Jim Carrey spends most of his time of late savaging not just President Trump but members of his administration. The budding artist shared ghastly images of Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceLewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace Indiana has spent over million on cleanup of failed Pence family gas stations: report What really happened with the breastfeeding scandal in Geneva MORE and EPA chief Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Fewer than half of school districts test for lead | Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act | FEMA avoids climate change when discussing plan for future storms Greens sue EPA over ‘super-polluting’ truck rule Don’t worry (too much) about Kavanaugh changing the Supreme Court MORE as part of his political art.

Late night comics Stephen Colbert and James Corden targeted Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Dem pollster: Haley would be 'very strong' presidential candidate Watchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet MORE, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for being upset that Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury" got featured on the recent Grammy Awards. They ignored the fact that Wolff spread a false rumor, with zero proof, that Haley was sleeping with the president.

Streep, who once stood and cheered for an admitted child rapist winning an Oscar, has said nothing publicly about any of the aforementioned attacks.

Not a word.

The commander in chief is the most powerful man in the world. He or she can bully someone far more effectively than anyone.

But stars possess power all the same. Everything they say is magnified, by the press, their social media accounts or a combination of the two. Carrey alone has 18.6 million followers on Twitter.

In our celebrity-driven culture stars hold sway over the masses. Companies shell out millions to have actors mention their products on social media. Too many stars have abused that power to mock, degrade and debase the culture and select citizens alike, all part of the so-called "resistance."

Ironically, President Trump has toned down his incendiary shtick in recent months. He still uses demeaning nicknames and hammers his foes without mercy but it is arguably not as cold as his primary season antics.

Meanwhile, the Hollywood "resistance" has only gotten meaner. It will likely get worse as the midterms approach. Just imagine the comments they'll make once the 2020 presidential election kicks in.

The mind reels.

Hollywood could have taken the high road following Trump's election. Instead, many stars took Trump's cruel comments and creatively made them much, much worse.

It's well past time for a second Streep speech, assuming she wasn't simply playing politics the first time around.

Christian Toto is editor of the conservative entertainment site HollywoodInToto.com and host of the weekly Hollywood in Toto Podcast.