Hollywood positively, unequivocally, without reservation condemns gay bashing. But Republican bashing; now that’s different.
When popular radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced her new television show, Hollywood activists jumped into action. Schlessinger, remember, once called gays “biological errors.” The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation took out ads in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Hollywood trade publications. The ads stated, “Ad time with ‘Dr. Laura’ is for sale. Here’s what you’re buying,” and listed comments allegedly made by Dr. Laura, such as, “I always told people who opposed homosexuality that they were homophobic, bad, bigoted and idiotic. I was wrong. It is destructive.”
Rapper Eminem recently won three Grammys, including best rap video, and also became a target for Hollywood activists. His homophobic lyrics and use of the word “faggot” made him a poster boy for intolerance toward gays and lesbians.
So while Hollywood refuses to tolerate gay bashing, it is open season on Republican bashing.
Actor Martin Sheen plays a Democratic president on NBC’s “The West Wing.” On New Year’s Day, when asked what advice to offer President-elect George W. Bush, Sheen said, “Just follow his heart and we really, sincerely wish him all the best, and you know, just follow his heart, when he gets in one of those tight spots, just go to his heart and say, ‘This is what got me here and this is what will get me through.’”
Yet, only weeks later, Sheen tells London’s BBC that he finds Bush “a moron.” And the Brits undoubtedly yucked it up when Sheen called “Alcoholics Anonymous and jazz” the only important American exports. At a speaking engagement in Berkeley, Calif., he said the media may love Bush, but “he’s still a moron,” adding, “He’s trying all the big stuff and doesn’t want to leave well enough alone. It gets real, real scary for me.” Sheen calling Bush a moron? For the record, a Sheen biography says that he “purposely flunked his college entrance exam to the University of Dayton so that he could pursue an acting career instead.”
Meanwhile, George W. Bush merely received an undergraduate degree from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. While in the Texas Air National Guard, he somehow mastered the ability to fly sophisticated F-102s. Obviously, the guy’s a dummy — a dummy who managed to twice get elected Texas governor and fumbled his way into the White House by unseating the incumbent party during a peacetime, strong economy. Forrest Gump, meet George W.
Consider the case of actress Sharon Lawrence, formerly with “NYPD Blue.” Lawrence’s picture appeared in People magazine in a two-page photo shoot on the Republican inauguration. Along with pictures of newly inaugurated President-elect Bush and other Republicans, Lawrence’s picture appeared on the far right. Uh-oh. Although Lawrence campaigned for Al Gore and belongs to the Democratic Party, many falsely assumed she was registered Republican. She began receiving hate mail, while enduring verbal taunts from passersby. A Hollywood producer took her aside and said, “I have to ask, are you really a Republican?”
Cher, during the campaign season, broke off a European recording session to return to the States to assist the Democratic campaign. “If you think the president is an ass, fine — after four years you can vote him out. But the Supreme Court — that’s 30 years! The Jerry Falwells of this world will be right in your back pocket. You won’t have one f—ing right left.”
Celebrity makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin told gossip columnist Liz Smith that he refuses to do the faces of Republican celebrities. Aucoin said, “It would be like a Jew doing makeup for Eva Braun!” Subtle.
And let’s not forget Alec Baldwin, on “The Conan O’Brien Show,” blasting away at Clinton House impeachment manager Henry Hyde: “I mean what is happening right now as we speak? … the president has an approval rating of 68 percent … I mean, the president is very popular. Things are going pretty good, and they’re voting to impeach the president. They voted on one article to impeach him already. … In other countries they are laughing at us 24 hours a day. And I’m thinking to myself, if we were in other countries, we would all, right now, all of us together, all of us together would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry Hyde to death.”
Baldwin, director Robert Altman, and others later declared their desire to leave the country rather than suffer the oppression of a George W. Bush administration. Ah, the Hollywood Diaspora.
In defending his controversial duet with Eminem, singer Elton John considered the performance “an olive branch,” a way to promote dialogue between the gay community and the controversial rapper. Good for Elton. Now, what about a little love for Republicans?
How about an Elton John duet with, say, Attorney General John Ashcroft?