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 :)