Lee Daniels, director of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” can’t seem to keep his charges of racism straight. I always thought that a sure sign of racism was how much rural whites love to see black people “perform.” But now Daniels is claiming that he had to stock his latest film with white actors out of the fear that, unless he did, rural whites would not want to see a film starring only black people:
The new movie “The Butler” has a unique political feature: Portrayals of five U.S. presidents. (Robin Williams plays Dwight Eisenhower, James Marsden portrays John F. Kennedy, John Cusack plays Richard Nixon, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson and Alan Rickman plays Ronald Reagan).
Director Lee Daniels says that many big stars was, in part, a way to balance the film’s lineup of actors.
“I want people from Oklahoma, I wanted people from Nebraska, I wanted people from Idaho who wouldn’t be so excited about going to see an African-American film with these African-American actors, people that understood some of these other folks, white folks that were celebrities.” The film’s primary actors are Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard and David Oyelowo.
This, of course, is nothing more than Daniels hurling an ignorant and bigoted smear against rural whites (a club of which I am a proud to be a member). It is also anti-science. No white actors have ever been necessary to turn Will Smith, Halle Berry, or Denzel Washington films into mega-hits. And Oprah Winfrey, one of the stars of the “The Butler,” isn’t a billionaire today because large swaths of white America would have nothing to do with her.
But of course when you mention that four of the biggest, most popular, and bankable stars in the country are black as proof of how far America has come racially, you are reminded by leftists like Lee Daniels that white bigots have always enjoyed watching black people “perform.”
Until now, that is. Now we are bigots because of the opposite… or something.
What Lee Daniels sounds like to me — other than someone with bigoted misconceptions about people based solely on their skin color — is a director already making excuses for a box-office flop.
And what better way for producer Harvey Weinstein to squeeze even more free Oscar publicity out of his Oscar bait than with a baseless and bigoted attack against those awful rural whites who did not make “The Butler” a success.
It is interesting, also, how perfectly Daniels’ bigoted smear of rural whites dovetails with Oprah’s racially-charged (and hotly disputed claim) she was a victim of racism in Switzerland.
There is no question that all this divisive, bigoted, and racially-charged rhetoric will help to ingratiate “The Butler” to the hard-leftists who make up the core of Hollywood’s Oscar voters. But there is also no question that the mainstream media will let Daniels get away with smearing large parts of America based only on their skin color.
As an example, look at Daniels’ quote above. He spewed that anti-science bigotry to Politico’s Patrick Gavin, and Gavin never so much as blinked.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC