Did you hear the news? Chuck Woolery came out of the closet! No, not that closet. Coming out of that closet in Hollywood gets you applause for your bravery. Instead, Woolery came out recently to admit that he is a … wait for it … conservative!
If you have not read “Primetime Propaganda” by Ben Shapiro or Andrew Breitbart’s “Righteous Indignation,” I suggest adding both of them to your fall reading list. Both books do a great job of explaining how we got to this point in, supposedly, the most tolerant and accepting nation in the history of the planet, where the one thing that will not be tolerated in Hollywood is admitting you are a conservative. As someone hoping to one day make a living as a working actor, I know I have a difficult road in front of me due to my political views.
So why is it newsworthy when someone in Hollywood admits they are, indeed, a conservative? Everyone knows that Kelsey Grammer is a conservative, yet he still works regularly. His former co-star, Patricia Heaton, also has another hit series despite her apparent drawback. It is news because, at least until now, they have been the exception. It is news because the Hollywood power brokers have set up a system that, until now, has kept conservatives too afraid to admit their true political views for fear of being ostracized from any future work in “the business.”
There’s also the fact that conservatives do not feel the need to spout their political views at every opportunity the way liberals in Hollywood do. I’ve never understood why someone who relies on reaching the largest audience possible to view their work would alienate half of their potential fan base. Granted, not every Hollywood liberal has called Tea Partiers racists, but enough of them have to affect their box office numbers. According to Box Office Mojo, the 2011 box office take is down 4.2 percent compared to the same point last year. That is hundreds of millions of dollars. Sure, the down economy is having some effect on movie going, but it is not the only reason people aren’t going. I, for one, have stopped going because I don’t want to give my hard earned money to someone who thinks so little of me.
That is why the time for Hollywood conservatives to come out of the closet is now. I know I’m not the only one looking for people to throw my support behind. Every time I see a link on a website to a list of “Conservative Actors” I follow it, hoping I’ll see a new name added to the list of Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Recent additions have included Robert Downey, Jr. and Adam Sandler.
Sandler is one I have yet to see confirmed as a conservative. He is always listed as having supported former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the past. Based on Sander’s recent family values based movies, I can certainly see it, though. The fact that he has not come out and openly stated his conservative views also leads me to believe it is true.
Am I wrong for hoping it’s true?
There is also a rumor that Angelina Jolie was going to come out in support of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the 2008 election, but her people convinced her not to in order to save her career. Would it really have been that detrimental to her? She has already established herself as a star in Hollywood. Does she not realize she would likely have gained fans by doing so?
It’s time for Hollywood conservatives to understand there is a possibility they are not the minority anymore. A recent Rasmussen Reports survey found 34.3 percent of respondents identified themselves as Republican, with 33.1 percent identifying as Democrat. This is a reversal of results from the same survey the past two years which found Democrats ahead in 2010 (36.3 percent to 33.4 percent) and 2009 (37.8 percent to 31.9 percent). Those numbers look like a trend to me. Since Hollywood is looked at as a major trendsetter, why are they so far behind on this one?
I understand the hesitancy to come forward, based on how Hollywood conservatives have been treated in the past. Those who are on the fence about coming out need look no further than Alcon Entertainment and Sherwood Pictures. In a down box office year, Alcon’s “Dolphin Tale” has made more than $30 million in profit on a film with an estimated $37 million budget. Sherwood’s “Courageous” has grossed almost $30 million off of a $2 million budget.
There is an under-served movie-going audience that is hungry to support those who share their values. Though he was not the first to say it, I’m reminded of this quote from President Ronald Reagan in 1981: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”