A hostile work environment
Picture this workplace: A television talk show that focuses on a 5-foot, half-circle desk with four to five opinionated egomaniacs sitting around spewing raucous opinions on the day's events in pop culture and politics. It's a dynamic and exhilarating venue replete with a studio audience hand-picked to react positively to the attitudes expressed by the panelists. There are no two exact opinions expressed, yet everyone is of the same political mind -- except for one.
Elizabeth Hasselbeck's experience on "The View" is a microcosm of life for an open conservative in showbiz. Not only do her co-hosts gang up on her regularly, so do many of the invited celebrity guests. When the meanest of the bunch leaves the show, the hiring process is crafted around finding the person who will best put the former reality star in her place. If voicing her minority position wasn't a requirement of her job, Elizabeth would be far better off just keeping her mouth shut.
In liberal Hollywood -- just like in the mainstream media and academia -- the decks are stacked against conservatives and Republicans. We know it. And you know it. Much of the blame, as I've previously admitted, goes to conservatives who choose not to enter these fields in significant numbers. Yet tragicomically, liberals won't even admit that an ideological disparity exists -- regardless of the reasons why. Otherwise they'd possibly have to apply their favorite societal cure-all: Affirmative action.
Conservatives do exist in reasonable numbers in greater Hollywood. However, the vast majority hold "below the line" jobs. That's Industry-speak for the less sexy middle-class tasks such as lighting, transportation, bookkeeping, etc. Show business' silent working-class mass exists in a right/left ratio far closer to its split in American society. And because they get paid far less than the "talent," they live in the far suburbs of L.A., including the flats of the San Fernando Valley.
My father-in-law, Orson Bean, an author, comedian and actor, was once blacklisted as a Communist back in the '50s. Ed Sullivan called him to say he could no longer book him on the show. Fifty years later, and after a sharp ideological metamorphosis, Orson says it's harder now to be an open conservative on a Hollywood set than it was back then to be a Communist.
Do you not remember actress Sharon Lawrence's story about how, after a photo of her near President Bush appeared in People magazine, countless Hollywood players began to brazenly harass her when they incorrectly perceived she supported the then-newly elected president? This was a Democrat speaking. Not one of John Wayne's progeny.
A working TV writer from Minnesota who also votes Democrat instant messages me that "it's not that it's hostile for conservatives in Hollywood. It's hostile for anyone who isn't slightly to the left of Lenin. Scoop Jackson would be asked to leave town."
A producer friend formerly at MTV tells a story from the last general election, about how her boss brazenly told her she would have never hired her had she been apprised that the producer supported President Bush. One gets away with such talk because "human resources" doesn't consider that harassment. Others have expressed eerily similar or worse experiences.
Writing this piece has been an exercise in self-censorship because I don't want to get decent people in trouble. Their livelihoods depend on my discreetness. One prominent name even e-mailed me to make sure I not even obliquely describe his or her role in the Hollywood pecking order:
I don't mean to be wimpy about it. But one day, my friend, hopefully things will be different for our side in this town. Does not seem right does it?Per his or her instruction, I deleted the e-mail.
David, you've been baiting me to mention George Soros and MoveOn.org throughout this weeklong exercise. Here it finally goes: The prominent Hollywood non-liberals that come quickly to your encyclopedic mind are mostly past their prime and opened up about their atypical politics during the popular Reagan era. Bruce Willis has not talked much politics since. He's smart. And Schwarzenegger, the governor, got almost no institutional support from his Hollywood peers during his run.
Right now the only game that matters is the war. And the big conservative that likely springs to your mind of a true blockbuster Hollywood conservative proves my point. Mel Gibson shares your disregard for the war and has therefore not been the object of Hungarian Jew George Soros' rage -- despite Gibson's drunken anti-Semitic rant. True to his pet organization's name, Soros just moved on.
The fact remains: Hollywood is a town of youth. And the young stars of today have been trained by the political Stella Adlers of our time to either disparage the presidency at a time of war -- or to shut the hell up. In that regard, MoveOn.org has been a wild success. The billionaire who takes down currencies by day has invested his Third World blood-money well.
MoveOn.org, George Soros and, to a great extent, Hollywood, have created specifically the type of environment George Clooney warns about in "Good Night, and Good Luck." Yet the multifaceted star clearly doesn't even see the irony. And, worse, the closet that you exhort against when filled with gays is a useful tool you embrace when used to shut out those with whom you disagree.