Skip to comments.Hollywood Republicans: Fact or Fiction? (The Rock, Adam Sandler, Britney Spears, etc)
Posted on 11/23/2004 9:31:40 PM PST by Nascardude
Hollywood Republicans: Fact or Ficton? By Steve Ryfle
Patricia Heaton was having dinner and conversation with a few Hollywood friends when the subject of politics came up. When the "Everybody Loves Raymond" star said she's voting for George W. Bush, the chatter turned to awkward silence.
"You'd think I'd crapped in the middle of the table," the Emmy-winning actress says in "Rated R: Republicans in Hollywood," a documentary that premiered recently on AMC-TV.
Hollywood has always been a liberal town, a Democratic stronghold. Over the decades there have been few openly conservative celebrities. John Wayne, Charlton Heston and Frank Sinatra were proud of their Republican leanings, but in the heat of the presidential campaign, Hollywood's GOP members (and yes, they do exist) seem locked in the closet.
Sen. John Kerry has enjoyed vocal and visible support from the Hollywood clan. Ben Affleck has appeared in person with the candidate, and Michael J. Fox was sitting in the front row at one of the debates, next to Kerry's wife. George Clooney and Michael Keaton each donated $2,000 to Kerry's campaign. Matt Damon's now being quoted as saying that he'd give a million dollars to get Kerry into the White House.
And everyone knows that Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Martin Sheen, Barbra Streisand, Danny Glover and a host of other celebs have long been loud liberals. The town's affinity with the Democrats supposedly dates back to the era of the Blacklist, when Hollywood was torn apart by Cold War conservatives and their commie witch-hunt.
But other than ex-action star and current California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, it's hard to find celebrities who sing the praises of the President. According to a prevailing theory, it's just too risky for Republican stars to speak out -- the possibility of career damage is just too great (even Schwarzenegger quipped after his GOP convention speech that wife Maria Shriver -- she of the Kennedy clan -- was so upset she shunned him in the sack for two weeks).
"I honestly think that it automatically hurts me if I said that I supported the war in Iraq and I support the troops," says Drew Carey, who describes himself as a libertarian in the "Rated R" documentary. "That automatically kills me for getting a bunch of movies, a bunch of TV shows. People don't want to hear from me."
Jesse Moss, the filmmaker behind "Rated R," had trouble getting stars to appear on camera. A disclaimer in his film states that Mel Gibson, Chuck Norris, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Bruce Willis and Heather Locklear -- all known Republicans -- refused to be interviewed.
Only a few famous Bush supporters aren't afraid to stand up. Ron Silver, the famed character actor who played attorney Alan Dershowitz in "Reversal of Fortune," also spoke forcefully for Bush at the GOP convention in August. "I am liberal on lots of social issues, but I am so serious about the Bush [anti-terrorism] line," Silver told the Chicago Tribune.
Country music stars, of course, are less reticent. Brooks & Dunn, Lee Ann Womack and the Gatlin Brothers all support Bush. And a few other celebrities are in Bush's corner, if not exactly speaking out on the President's behalf: Bruce Willis, Kid Rock, Kelsey Grammer, Alice Cooper and Britney Spears.
A few years ago, James Woods told Jay Leno he "loves" Dubya and was proud to have voted for him, and Danny Aiello has also been an unabashed Republican. It wasn't so long ago that Michael Moore's Oscar acceptance speech drew audible boos from some of the Hollywood rank-and-file. But at the moment, the Hollywood chorus of conservatives remains comparatively quiet.
Meanwhile, as the campaign has heated up, several news outlets have attempted to "out" Hollywood Republicans, including Details magazine. In a recent issue, Details named a few celebrities who are admitted conservatives, such as Jessica Simpson and Shannen Doherty, and a few surprises, such as Adam Sandler and Freddie Prinze Jr. Prinze's wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, has expressed right-wing leanings in the past.
Mike DeLuca, a powerful producer at Sony Pictures Entertainment, told Details that when he acknowledged his Republican affiliation, the reaction in Hollywood was like admitting he was a "serial killer." DeLuca added that Tinseltown liberals "...scream about the environment before they hop onto their private jets and blow 8,000 pounds of fuel getting to the Hamptons."
Details also "outed" Mandy Moore, but her publicist issued a quip of a response, stating: "Mandy is not, nor has she ever been, a Republican."
Being a Republican in Hollywood, it seems, is to be a nonconformist, a rebel. Thus, the rebels are banding together, organizing, and speaking their minds -- in comfortable surroundings, anyway. A group called the Wednesday Morning Club, whose steering committee includes Oscar-winning actor Robert Duvall and Icon Pictures exec Steve McEveety (who produced "Braveheart"), has been gathering steam.
So has the Hollywood Congress of Republicans, which recently named Michael Moore "Jackass of the Year" (Moore, they say, still hasn't picked up his trophy, described as the "back part of a donkey").
What do celebrity endorsements mean to a presidential candidate, in terms of actual votes? Probably not much. Still, Hollywood's Republicans are looking forward to a day when they can speak their mind without fear of reprisals, says actor Mark Vafiades, president of the Hollywood Congress of Republicans.
"We're the guys who have the most difficulty expressing our views." Still, Vafiades says more and more people are registering with his organization -- a sign that the political climate may be changing. "It's getting closer to the day when [being a Hollywood Republican] will be acceptable."
Interesting stuff. Didn't know about The Rock or Adam Sandler. Rock cuts a great figure as an action hero - hopefully his movie career will continue growing.
On a related note, for any wrestling fans (you're out there, admit it), Triple H is supposedly a rather conservative fellow, as is Vince McMahon.
I'm kind of a wrestling fan. Use to be huge into wrestling as a kid. Now I watch it occasionally when I have nothing better to do. From what I understand about 90 percent of the WWF (WWE as it's known now) is Republican. I know Vince McMahon is a major Republican.
"The Rock" spoke to the 2000 Republican Convention. AMC has their special with a clip of him speaking. He thanks them for inviting him to speak.
They always bring up the blacklist, but (1) it is an established fact that Communists were successfully influencing the movie industry when HUAC opened up the issue, and (2) Hollywood liberals have been blacklisting Hollywood conservatives for far longer than any blacklist of liberals existed.
When congress called for an investigation of Communist activity in Hollywood, the witnesses against the left included Walt Disney, Ward Bond, John Wayne, Director John Ford, and the President of the Screen Actors guild, Ronald Reagan.
Reagan began carrying a pistol during this time period due to personal threats against him.
The left would have you believe that the charges were all spurious.
Even Mel wont speak out? Dang!! He has spoken out in past and after POTC im sure the last thing he is concerned about is bad press or threats so i think that it is other than him afraid..maybe he was busy?
Nature Boy,Val Venis,JBL
Most pro wrestlers are Pubs(Why I dont know)...Mick Foley being an exception
I think Mel is rightly staying out of the political limelight. He has taken a lot of bumps for being a Christian, which is a far more important a standard to bear.
Oh yeah, Val Venis. I remember hearing that about him. I believe he's Canadian though, isn't he? (WWE has quite a few major Canadian superstars).
I agree with you about The Rock. 'Scorpion King' was one of the most entertaining movies I have seen in years. It's one of those movies you can watch over and over - - non-stop action.
Also, I seem to remember reading that UT (from Texas ;) is a conservative guy. As I recall, he's into shooting sports of one kind or another as well.
Jessica,Heather,Sarah Michelle,Mandy(even if she is gutless),Lee Anne and even Britney (even if she is well you know)
ALL MAJOR SCHWINGS
If you haven't seen The Rundown, I highly recommend it. Finally caught it on satellite about a week ago. Great stuff - Rock at his best - a great mix of his personal comedy and sheer badassitude :)
Most Pro Golfers support Republicans. Don King also was vocal for Bush.
Lita, Trish Stratus, Shawn Michaels, and Jerry Lawler to name some more
Gibson has guts. I think the reason he declined to say whom he supported for President this time around is that he (Gibson) was putting all his energy towards trying to defeat the diabolical $3 billion cloning bond that was on the ballot in California this year. I believe Gibson felt so strongly about defeating this bond proposal that he didn't want the bill's supporters to have anything they could use to divert attention away from the points Gibson was making about cloning. Alas, the bond passed. But surely God will reward Mel Gibson for having fought against it.
Thanks for the tip. I'll look for 'The Rundown'.
Wayne Newton is a big time Repub, and a huge supporter of our troops. He took over from Bob Hope as the lead for the USO.
Drew Carey does USO shows, and was very serious in support of both our troops and our mission in Iraq.
Bo Derek is a long-time Repub and conservative!
But for the most part I think the Hollywood Repubs just aren't as nauseating as the Susan S, Tim Robbins, Michael Moores, and thus do not get the publicity...nor are they trying to be. That is alright by me. What does being a Hollywood star or a sports celebrity have to d with knowing how to vote anyway.
Also Joanna Garcia who is on one of my favorite shows "REBA"
I've wondered about Don King several times. He is ALWAYS carrying at least a half dozen miniature American flags whenever at an event. I've heard him make several glowing statements about Bush in general. But on the other hand, he has a reputation as a hugely corrupt guy, so its difficult to take him at face value. Given his crazy character though, I'd love to hear that it's legit :)
Cant forget Kim Alexis and Kathy Ireland
Yep. All the babes are Republicans. Britney, Jessica, Sara Michelle, Heather Locklear, and Kathy Ireland. The Dems can have the washed up has beens whose looks fade with age like Susan Sharandon and Helen Hunt.
Sean Michaels - born again as I recall. He had a reputation as a really personally self-destructive individual in years past. He found God and has since returned to the WWE. He's worn -plenty- of tshirts on TV clearly expressing his beliefs.
Also remember him saying he was a lil concerned about lack of WMDs in Iraq
I disagree with you criticising these pro-Bush celeberties for not being more vocal. I've noticed that Republicans and other people with "right"-leaning tendencies are less likely to spout off on mindless political rants. I don't care what celeberties think about politics. Their job is to entertain us, and not to speak on issues about they are not qualified to explain. I don't mind them campaigning for people, but people like Susan Sarndon are just revolting. I liked all of these celebs to begin with, and now I like them more. I don't particularly follow any of them except Eastwood and Gibson to a lesser extent, but they all always come across as likable, decent people by Hollywood standards. These people are good examples that Bush supporters are classier than people who supported French Kerry. Kid Rock didn't call Kerry a thug, and Jessica Simpson did not compare Kerry to a Nazi. These people show which political part is more rational and emotionally stable.
Good, now I can continue to watch Adam Sandler movies! LOL
I also heard Kerry Wood (Chicago Cubs pitcher) and his wife are huge Bush fans & both voted for him. They actually said that no hollywood star is going to tell them how to vote!!
Go to JERSEYGOP.COM and check out the GOP BABE OF THE WEEK
No. No, they don't. It's the other "celebrities" who need to sit down, shut up, and get back to play-pretend on stage and the Big Screen and yammering their mouths with bands.
Almost none of them have the knowledge or wisdom to presume to bark at the rest of us.
I don't care what my boss's political opinions are, and I work with him 40-50 hours a week. Why would I care what a hips-and-lips-wagger like Spears thinks?
"What do celebrity endorsements mean to a presidential candidate, in terms of actual votes? Probably not much."
Obviously it means a whole lot! Look at the impact that the Vote or Die and Vote for Change dingbats had! (hee-hee-hee!)
I don't think we should criticize pro-Bush celebs, either. One, I know what it's like to be conservative in a bluer than blue state, and two, like you said, they should just do what we pay 'em for.
I show my distaste for those such as Susan, Whoopie, Barbra and the rest by NOT buying their CDs or going to their movies.
Awesome. Thanks for that link. I just bookmarked it.
I wasn't criticising the Pro-Bush celebrities. And I'm certainly not suggesting they should go on tirades like the sickos on the left. I just get so sick of seeing Anti-Bush celebrity bashes on tv. It would be so nice to see a large group of Pro-Bush celebrities stand up and show their support for Bush. THat was all I was saying
"One, I know what it's like to be conservative in a bluer than blue state."
The Bay Area is about as blue as it gets from what I hear. I've been to southern California, and that is supposedly the conservative part of the state. I'm in a evenly divided city in a red county in the blue state of Maryland.
And while you're at it get 'Walking Tall'
dang, now i'll have to reconsider my dislike for adam sandler :P
The Bay Area is definitely lib-land! Thank God for the internet, my FRiends here at FR, Fox News and talk radio, otherwise I'd go crazy! (Although some would say I already have...)
I was struck by the fact that on election eve California was being called by 7:59 p.m., by my watch, for Kerry!
Most Pro Golfers support Republicans.
What about Tiger? He was a service brat.
Just watched that. Pretty good movie.
Don't forget the rockers on the right ---
C. C. De Ville
And The NUGE!!!!
I've heard some conflicting stories about him. He's probably my top guitar hero of all time - utter musical genius. Got the real low down on him?
Damn, now I'll have to buy the Scoobie-Doo movies for my kids!
I understand where you are coming from. I did not want to appear as if I was going off on a tirade of my own. I enjoyed this article, and my only point was that more conservative people are typically less vocal in inappropriate situations, at least from what I've observed. I was attempting to offer my opinion as to why pro-Bush celebs don't speak up more often.
The article proves that they do make their opinions known, although Mandy Moore sounded frightened that she would be blacklisted. No person should feel this way if fear is the reason for her publicist's comments. She is obviously not as powerful as Eastwood, Gibson, Sandler, or spears who are probably untouchable in the industry due to their enormous incomes and fan bases.
My intention was not to take issue with what you said, but simply to offer a different opinion. I was not trying to be abrasive.
I think Drew Carey is a formenr U.S. Marine.
I have to admit I actually like the Scooby Doo Movies. Decent, clean. Just silliness all over, but no sex, cussing, etc.
I've heard some conflicting stories about him. He's probably my top guitar hero of all time - utter musical genius. Got the real low down on him?
I quoted RockinRight who said James Hetfield is conservative anarchist type --- now pinging him.
I've heard that Don King supports whoever's in the White House, regardless of party.
I don't know how true that is though.
Ditto that, he comes off as so smarmy in everything I've seen him in.