Actor Antonio Sabato Jr. claims he has been “viciously” targeted online and has been effectively blacklisted from Hollywood since he spoke in support of Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last month.
In an interview with Variety, the 44-year-old model and soap opera star — who spoke on the first day of the Republican convention about his support for Trump — said that directors have contacted his agents and told them they will never work with him again.
“On Twitter, there’s been name calling, and celebrities attacking me. That’s fine,” Sabato told Variety. “I see it, but I don’t read it. I block them and delete them and move on. There’s so much negativity you can be taken into that. But I’ve also heard from celebrities: ‘If he can do it, I want to speak my mind too.’ They are fed up with the way this country has been running and by all these lies.”
At the convention, Sabato detailed how he immigrated to the United States lawfully, after waiting for nearly 11 years. The actor, originally from Rome, said he had “followed all the rules” in the immigration process, and reiterated the need for other immigrants to do the same.
“Donald Trump is for unity,” Sabato said during his brief speech. “Donald Trump believes in one America, with liberty and justice for all. Having secure borders, protecting our citizens, none of this is hateful. This is the responsibility of the government. And it’s the right thing to do. Donald Trump will get it done and get back on the right track.”
Sabato said that even though he and millions of other Americans support Trump in his bid for the presidency, the liberal Hollywood industry he has made a living in “doesn’t like that.”
“A lot of the bosses, a lot of the executives, they own the channels, they own the media. They donate millions to Hillary Clinton and President Obama,” he told Variety. “I’m just a normal dude speaking my mind. So be it. I will keep fighting for what I believe, and I will keep looking for work.”
“My work and my life is based on God,” Sabato continued. “My leader, the one I look up to, is Jesus Christ. I’ve seen people in the industry say, ‘I’m not going to talk to this guy, because he talks about Jesus Christ.’ It shows the true personalities of these people. Well, I wouldn’t want to work with them anyway. But if I acted the same way as they did, I would never work for anybody. They are all with Hillary.”
The actor added that he knows people who have been blacklisted by the industry simply for attending the Republican convention.
“You’re supposed to be hired based on your talent and abilities, not because of how you feel about politics or religion. But that’s how they do things,” Sabato explained. “It’s not just me. I know a lot of people in the industry who are in the same boat. The reality is if you’re associated with the Republican Party, the casting directors and producers already blacklist you based on that.”
In concluding the interview, Sabato reiterated his convention prediction that Trump would defeat Clinton in November’s general election.
“I’m never going to leave Hollywood. I’m going to go after it one way or another,” he told Variety. “I’m just speaking the truth — people don’t know how this business works. I feel strongly about the fact that Donald Trump is going to win. I think he’ll be elected in November.”
Watch Sabato’s full speech from the Republican National Convention above.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum