Avid readers of entertainment media know that celebrities often say stupid things. In the era of President Donald Trump, celebrities say stupid things with ever-increasing regularity.
Yet sometimes — not often, admittedly — a Famous Person will somehow escape the usually impenetrable bubble of utter obliviousness that encircles Hollywood to speak pure common sense. These comments are so infrequent — and so pleasantly surprising — that they’re often picked up by dozens of news outlets and promptly go viral among Americans still hopeful that there remains a shred of competence among those working in the entertainment business.
It’s not exactly a secret that many celebrities’ side gigs as political activists tend to hurt the commercial prospects for their films. But in most cases, it is not simply the fact that they have opinions that bother millions of ticket-buying Americans (it is a free country, after all); it is the vitriol and bigotry with which these celebrities attack the character and values of right-of-center Americans who disagree with them politically.
Celebrity venom and mockery of ordinary Americans has intensified ten-fold since President Trump’s election, and the corresponding box office collapse should be no surprise.
As Breitbart News contributor Patrick Courrielche put it in his recent three-part Big Hollywood exposé: “No one is saying celebrities can’t hold political views, or even speak about them. It’s the complete lack of respect for the Deplorables that’s biting them in the ass.”
Here, then, are eleven instances in which Hollywood celebrities — whether they realized it at the time or not — said something that actually resonated with the American public.
1. Mark Wahlberg Tells ‘Out of Touch’ Celebrities to Shut Up About Politics
The A-list actor spoke for millions of Americans when he said in a post-election interview with Task & Purpose magazine last year that celebrities should refrain from preaching their political opinions in public.
“A lot of celebrities did, do, and shouldn’t [talk about politics],” he said. “They might buy your CD or watch your movie, but you don’t put food on their table. You don’t pay their bills.”
“A lot of Hollywood is living in a bubble,” he added. “They’re pretty out of touch with the common person, the everyday guy out there providing for their family.”
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Wahlberg was named the world’s highest-paid actor by Forbes this year, with $68 million in earnings.
2. Bryan Cranston Says ‘F*ck You’ to People Hoping Trump Fails
If the President of the United States fails, that puts the entire country in danger, an important point that most in the #Resistance still don’t seem to understand.
Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston gets it though, even if he wasn’t a big fan of Trump during the 2016 campaign.
“President Trump is not the person who I wanted to be in that office, and I’ve been very open about that,” Cranston told the Hollywood Reporter in October. “That being said, he is the president. If he fails, the country is in jeopardy. It would be egotistical for anyone to say, ‘I hope he fails.’ To that person I would say, f*ck you. Why would you want that? So you can be right?”
“I don’t want him to fail. I want him to succeed. I do. I honestly do,” he added. “And if you’ve got a good idea that helps the country, oh man, I’m gonna support you. I don’t care if you’re a Republican and I’m a Democrat or whatever, I don’t care. A good idea’s a good idea.”
3. Denzel Washington Tells Black America: Stop Blaming the Prison System, ‘It Starts at Home’
The world’s (arguably) last remaining movie star has a history of dishing out straight-up common sense, as he did in December of last year when he torched the mainstream media for shilling “BS” to the American people.
But this entry comes from this week, when Washington spoke to reporters about his latest film, Roman J. Israel, Esq., and how it reinforced his belief in how crucial it is for young people to have strong fathers in their lives while growing up.
“It starts at home. It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure,” Washington told reporters at the New York premiere of the film. “I grew up with guys who did decades (in prison), and it had as much to do with their fathers not being in their lives as it did to do with any system.”
“Now I was doing just as much as they were, but they went further,” he added. “I just didn’t get caught, but they kept going down that road and then they were in the hands of the system. But it’s about the formative years. You’re not born a criminal.”
4. Kate Winslet Slaps Down Jennifer Lawrence’s Whiny Essay About the Gender Pay Gap
Jennifer Lawrence’s essay about the supposed pay imbalance between male and female actors in movies and television shows sparked a firestorm when it was first published in Lena Dunham’s feminist newsletter Lenny Letter in 2015, leading countless stars to become outraged over their already-obscenely-overpaid colleagues’ salaries.
But Kate Winslet, perhaps to the annoyance of the media, wouldn’t take the bait.
“I don’t think that’s a very nice conversation to have publicly at all,” Winslet told the BBC’s Newsbeat in 2015. “I’m quite surprised by these conversations to be honest, simply because it seems quite a strange thing to be discussing out in the open like that.”
“I am a very lucky woman and I’m quite happy with how things are ticking along,” she added.
Fun fact: Jennifer Lawrence made $20 million plus back-end for last year’s sci-fi crapfest Passengers, while her co-star Chris Pratt made $12 million.
5. Tim Allen Calls Out Hollywood for Its Obvious Bias Against Conservatives (and his show coincidentally gets cancelled a few months later)
Allen is one of Hollywood’s few remaining open conservatives, and he had an extremely popular TV show with ABC’s Last Man Standing.
In a late-night appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s show in March, Allen discussed his experience attending President Trump’s inauguration in January… and also said he’d noticed that everyone in Hollywood thinks the same way politically, and that the industry will kill your career if you don’t agree.
“You’ve gotta be real careful around here. You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody believes,” he told Kimmel. “This is like ’30s Germany. I don’t know what happened. If you’re not part of the group, ‘you know what we believe is right,’ I go, ‘Well, I might have a problem with that.’”
Two months later, Last Man Standing was toast, despite it being one of the more popular comedies on broadcast television at the time. ABC put the cancellation down to “scheduling” and “business” reasons.
Of course, Allen will be fine. His next film, El Camino Christmas, is in post-production, and he’s set to voice Buzz Lightyear again in Pixar’s upcoming Toy Story 4.
6. Rob Schneider Tells Democrats: ‘It’s Not Russia. It’s You’
After months of hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing from the Democrats over the results of the election, Schneider just flat-out eviscerated the whiners with a single, perfectly-put tweet:
2010 Dems lost the House
2012 Dems lost the Senate
2016 Dems lost the White House
2017 Dems lost ability to reason
It's not Russia, it's YOU
— Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) March 29, 2017
7. Clint Eastwood Says Political Correctness is ‘Killing’ the U.S.: ‘We’ve Lost Our Sense of Humor’
Leave it to the legend himself to say so eloquently what nearly everyone who isn’t a hyper-triggered social justice freak already knows.
“A lot of people thought it was politically incorrect,” Eastwood said at Cannes this year of his 1971 film Dirty Harry. “That was at the beginning of the era that we’re in now, where everybody thinks everyone’s politically correct. We’re killing ourselves by doing that.”
Eastwood also (correctly) observed that a disregard for political correctness was what had propelled Trump to the Republican presidential nomination.
“He’s onto something, because secretly everybody’s getting tired of political correctness, kissing up,” the actor told Esquire magazine in an earlier interview. “That’s the kiss-ass generation we’re in right now. We’re really in a pussy generation. Everybody’s walking on eggshells.”
“He’s said a lot of dumb things. So have all of them. Both sides,” he added. “But everybody —the press and everybody’s going, ‘Oh, well, that’s racist,’ and they’re making a big hoodoo out of it. Just f*cking get over it. It’s a sad time in history.”
After earning a Best Picture nomination with 2015’s American Sniper, the four-time Oscar-winner rolls on next year with the true-story drama The 15:17 to Paris.
8. Jessica Chastain Admits Hollywood Has No Moral Authority after Industry-Wide Sex Abuse Cover-Up
Chastain has been politically outspoken on a number of issues herself, but in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal still sweeping through the entertainment business, the actress recently admitted that Hollywood no longer has the moral high ground from which to lecture other Americans.
“Oh, we’re very quick to point the finger at others and address the issue with social action and fundraising. Yet there is a clear disconnect between how we practice what we preach in our industry,” Chastain said at an Elle magazine event in October.
“We rally against the presidential candidate who slants a narrative of his sexual assault as mere locker room talk, but at the same time we ignore the stories and warnings of sexual predators in our offices,” she added.
O.K., so she still hates Trump. But maybe we won’t get Meryl Streep-ed at the Oscars if Chastain gets nominated this year.
9. Nicole Kidman: ‘We as a Country Need to Support’ President Donald Trump
The A-list Oscar-winner stunned the Hollywood media in January after telling the UK’s Victoria Derbyshire that the U.S. needed to set aside the divisions created by the 2016 presidential election and get behind the winner, Donald Trump.
“[Trump is] now elected and we, as a country, need to support whoever is the president,” the Lion star said. “That is what the country is based on. And however that happened, it happened, and let’s go.”
The actress added that she is “always reticent” to comment on political matters.
“I’ve never done it in terms of America or Australia. I’m issue based. I’m very, very committed to women’s issues,” she said.
Kidman somewhat walked back the comment a short time later, but that appeared simply to be the work of Hollywood’s ever-watchful Enforcers.
It didn’t seem to hurt her, anyway. Kidman won an Emmy for her role on HBO’s miniseries Big Little Lies this year and is rumored to be returning for a hoped-for second season. She’ll also play Queen Atianna in DC’s upcoming Aquaman film.
10. Roseanne Barr: Attacks on Trump are ‘Really a Disguised Attack on American Voters’
Barr was one of the few celebrities to understand the media mechanics in the first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency.
In March, the actress and comedian observed that nearly every attack on Trump was “really a disguised attack on American voters who rejected Obama-Clinton-Bush’s bleeding of R treasury.”
Barr, who was a frequent defender of Trump both during and after the campaign, gets bonus points for taking on leftist activist Linda Sarsour in the same week after Sarsour questioned whether it was possible to be a “Zionist feminist.”
“Is it even possible to be a pro-Palestinian feminist?” Barr fired back on Twitter.
11. Ashton Kutcher Explains to Teens that ‘Entitlement’ Culture Is ‘Unhealthy’ for Both Them and the Country: ‘Opportunities Look a Lot Like Work’
It’s safe to say that no one was expecting Ashton Kutcher to deliver solid life lessons while accepting the top prize at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards, yet that’s exactly what he did, delivering a speech about the value of hard work and making the most of opportunities, no matter how small they may seem.
“There’s an entitlement that’s starting to emerge that I think is unhealthy for people and unhealthy for a country,” he said. “I talked to some of my friends and they don’t want to get a job at Starbucks… because they feel like it’s below them. Well, I think the only thing that can be below you is to not have a job.”
”I believe that opportunity looks a lot like work,” he went on. “When I was 13, I had my first job with Dad carrying shingles to the roof, and then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant, and then I got a job in a grocery store deli, and then I got a job in a factory sweeping Cheerio dust off the ground. And I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job, and I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work.”
Good advice, and a far cry from what some other celebrities have said about their own work histories.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson