While Hillary Clinton has made a half-dozen successful fundraising trips to California, the Democrat presidential frontrunner has so far failed to earn the support of a key fundraising bloc in the state: Hollywood’s most powerful female executives.
Of the 100 women on The Hollywood Reporter’s 2015 “Power 100” list of the biggest female names in entertainment, just one in four had donated to Clinton’s presidential campaign as of the most recent Federal Election Commission filing, the outlet reported Wednesday.
Clinton has earned the lion’s share of Hollywood support over the past year, picking up maximum donations from industry heavyweights like Tom Hanks, Barbra Streisand, HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo, and Lionsgate executive Patrick Wachsberger. A fundraiser at singer Christina Aguilera’s home in November brought in $1 million for the campaign; Katie Holmes and Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy attended, as did longtime Clinton supporters Michael Kives and Darnell Strom of powerhouse talent agency CAA. Clinton has also mixed it up with California lawmakers like Sen. Barbra Boxer and Rep. Judy Chu at other high-dollar fundraisers.
However, among the industry’s female power players, support for Clinton is conspicuously absent. What’s worse, THR reports that some of the women on the list had donated exclusively to Clinton during the 2008 campaign, when many in Hollywood had contributed to both the Clinton and Obama campaigns as a way of covering their bases.
Fox Television Group chairman Dana Walden, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, actress Elizabeth Banks, Warner Bros. executive Diane Nelson, Fox Searchlight president Nancy Utley, and TriStar Pictures president Hannah Minghella are just a few of the female power players who have donated to Clinton’s campaign, according to THR. But many of the figures at the top of the list, including Oprah Winfrey and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, have not.
While the race is still in its early stages, and some insiders believe support for Clinton will pick up in the general election, one “industry dealmaker” told THR that a growing list of scandals may have dampened Hollywood’s enthusiasm for Clinton’s campaign.
“They don’t like Benghazi. They don’t like the way she’s handled Bill’s infidelities. They don’t like the email scandal,” the unnamed insider told the outlet. “All these things have created a lack of trust.”
Still, the unnamed dealmaker added: “Every woman I know who hasn’t given to her feels guilty about it. We all want a woman to be president — some of us just wish it were someone else.”
The outlet notes that none of the women on the Power 100 list has yet donated to Clinton’s chief rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. But Sanders has pursued a different campaign strategy in the Golden State.
Sanders held a series of low-key fundraisers in California last summer, where he picked up checks at the homes of actress Mimi Kennedy and longtime progressive activists Betty and Stanley Sheinbaum. But the Vermont senator has had far more success with impressive public spectacles; a rally at the Los Angeles Sports Memorial in June drew 27,000 supporters. Sanders was introduced at the event by comedian Sarah Silverman.
Sanders has also earned the backing of Artists for Bernie, a collective of actors, musicians, directors and other creatives who have lent their support to Sanders in the primary. The group hosted a fundraiser for the Sanders campaign on Tuesday night at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood.
CAA agent Michael Kives, who has become one of Clinton’s top Hollywood bundlers, told THR he sees reason for optimism among those power women who have not yet donated to Clinton’s campaign.
“When you’re the frontrunner, and everyone expects you to win, it’s even harder to raise money,” he said. “So that figure is even more spectacular on a number of levels. And if only one in four of the power women have donated, that’s only more good news that more money can and will be raised.”