Hollywood types love to wrinkle their collective brow over the 1940s-era Blacklist.
Witness the gaggle of stars (Joan Allen, Michael Douglas, Liam Neeson) who participated in the 2007 documentary “Trumbo,” the tale of gifted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo who got entangled in the House Un-American Activities Committee blacklist.
Now, the industry trade publication The Hollywood Reporter is apologizing for its own role in the blacklist. The magazine “named names” back in the 1940s, and the son of the magazine’s then-publisher penned an op-ed apologizing for those actions.
Left unsaid, once more, is the lack of concern about a less official but still pernicious blacklist going on in 2012. Conservatives in Hollywood face varying degrees of punishment for their beliefs, from angry whispers to outright job discrimination.
Witness the reaction to Clint Eastwood’s pro-Romney declaration at the RNC a few weeks ago. A prominent entertainment site openly wondered how it might affect the acting legend’s career. If Eastwood isn’t immune to the industry’s animosity toward conservatives, what chance does an unknown actor have if he or she speaks up on behalf of the GOP?
I’ve personally spoken with a veteran actor who shared stories of how his right-leaning views cost him work. Other conservative actors simply stay silent for fear of possible retribution.
No one can defend the actions that caused artists to have their livelihoods threatened during the Blacklist era. But another mea culpa-laden trip down memory lane isn’t complete without a few words spoken about conservative talent fearing for their own careers.