Will Free Speech-Champion Norman Lear Speak Out Against the New Blacklist?

The spirit of the First Amendment is being violated every day in Hollywood. Liberal faux-cognoscenti discriminate against conservatives, forcing them into the proverbial closet. They do it socially by refusing to invite them to the parties where business happens; they do it professionally by refusing to work with them; they do it unconsciously by shying away from anyone with a differing opinion, assuming that conservatives are incapable of empathetic writing, producing, or acting.

So where are all those liberals who opposed McCarthyism now, when the evidence of such discrimination is out in the open? Where are they, condemning those like Vin Di Bona (America’s Funniest Home Videos), who celebrates discrimination, or Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II, IV, and VI), who hopes discrimination takes place? Where are they, following up on comments by David Shore (House) that conservatives have it rough in Hollywood, or responding to Leonard Goldberg’s (Blue Bloods, Charlie’s Angels) accusations of anti-conservative blacklisting in the industry?

Nowhere to be found.

And where is the Dean of First Amendment rights in Hollywood?

Missing.

I’ve put in two calls to Norman Lear (All in the Family), perhaps the most-respected show creator in Hollywood history. Neither has been returned. The Hollywood Reporter has called him. No response. This despite the fact that an organization he co-founded – the Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors, is being torn apart as a result of the comments made by Di Bona, and despite the fact that the same Caucus now refuses to pass an anti-discrimination resolution.

Where is this champion of First Amendment freedoms? This is the same Norman Lear who railed against the Family Viewing Hour back in the 1980s, filing a lawsuit to prevent its implementation on First Amendment grounds. This is the same Norman Lear who founded People for the American Way in order to preserve his liberal interpretation of the First Amendment. This is the same Norman Lear who spent $8.1 million to buy an original copy of the Declaration of Independence so that he could tour the country and give Americans a first-hand look at their “birth certificate” firsthand.

Norman Lear says he “love[s] being associated with the First Amendment.” He explained at the Ford Hall Forum that “Literature, the vehicle of ideas, must be unrestricted by the political, religious, or moral dictates of the controlling group of the day. There can be no freedom of expression in the full sense, Mill said, unless all facets of life can be portrayed, no matter how repulsive the disclosures may be to some people. ‘Those who desire to suppress an opinion deny its truth,’ Mill continued, ‘but they are not infallible.'”

Lear constantly focuses on the “Moral Majority mind-set,” which he says stifles freedom of speech. But today, it is the Hollywood left that violates freedom of speech. Lear once stated, “if we agree that the American experiment is based on the conviction that a healthy society is best maintained not by an attempt to impose uniformity, but through a free and open interchange of differing opinions, then the dogma of the Religious New Right violates the spirit of the First Amendment – and the spirit of liberty.”

It is not the Religious New Right, as Lear terms them, but the Hollywood left that attempts to impose uniformity, violating the spirit of the First Amendment in the process. Norman Lear must lead the charge against discrimination in Hollywood. If he does not, he is worse than a hypocrite – he is a partisan hack who uses the First Amendment as a club when it suits him and a discardable shibboleth when it does not. Lear would then be emblematic of the entire Hollywood establishment, which whines about blacklisting when it targets communists but practices it regularly with regard to political conservatives.

It’s time for Norman Lear to stand up and be counted, to speak truth to power. If he leads, the Hollywood left will follow. That would be a true act of heroism.

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