Parents have learned the hard way that speaking out against teachers unions invites serious blowback.
Now, the actors in the new pro-school choice film “Won’t Back Down” are discovering a similar lesson.
“Won’t Back Down” chronicles a frazzled single mom (Maggie Gyllenhaal) trying to secure a solid education for her special needs child. To do so, she fights the educational system along with a dedicated teacher (Viola Davis).
The film’s villain, in essence, is the teachers union behind the crumbling school in question. That makes the film – and its talented stars – a juicy target for unions in general.
In real life, Parents Across America, an advocacy group which has received union funding, has launched a “fight Hollywood” campaign asking members to contact entertainers at all involved with the film or even a summer concert to kick it off. The intent, according to its website, which lists phone numbers and emails of agents and publicists, is to brand the film as a “feel bad, not feel good” movie. On their list: Davis and Gyllenhaal, plus Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Jack Black, the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Josh Groban.
One industry source yesterday confirmed reports that the Screen Actors union president was asked by union officials to warn the movie’s stars about union bashing. On the “Today” show Monday, after protests at the premiere, Gyllenhaal went out of her way to say she’s not a union basher.
So, if you’re an actor who finds work in a project that speaks in favor of parents fighting for educational choices you’ll find yourself in the union’s cross hairs.
Will that have an effect on similarly themed projects? Parents Across America sure hopes so.