Remember Hollywood’s old obsession with the “blacklisting” of alleged communists?
Movie after movie captured that dark chapter in American history, each film wagging a cinematic finger at industry insiders who punished Communist sympathizers — or just folks suspected of harboring such thoughts.
Think “The Front,” “The Majestic,” “Trumbo,” “Guilty by Suspicion” and “Good Night, and Good Luck.”
That was then.
Today, people who hold what the Hollywood elite consider untenable views — such as those who believe in protecting the U.S. border — are targeted, shamed and made to fear for their careers. It’s happening both inside Tinsel Town and across the culture at large.
Hollywood can’t so much as clear its collective throat about it, let alone speak out against the practice.
The irony? The industry has never been more vocal, more eager to jump into the political fray. Awards shows. Social media. Concert stages. Puff piece interviews.
They talk, and talk, and talk about the issues of the day. On this blacklist-level front, the silence is deafening.
Sound hyperbolic? Consider the following incidents from just this year alone.
Filmmakers working on a feature critical of Planned Parenthood operated under a shroud of secrecy, fearing the film’s subject matter could invite trouble.
Another pro-life film project, “Roe v. Wade,” similarly struggled to complete its shooting schedule. According to The Hollywood Reporter, actors attempted to sabotage the project while universities inexplicably refused to let the production shoot on their grounds.
It, too, operated under a cloud of secrecy. Why? According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The radio silence — until now — has been by design, both for the security of the cast and crew and in order to obtain shooting locations.”
Conservatives in Hollywood rarely speak out in favor of Donald Trump lest they face career backlash. For an industry where the job competition is fierce, that matters. The Hollywood Reporter also reported, “The president’s supporters in the industry fear mixing it up with their liberal colleagues, thus there are secretive efforts to drum up votes for their side, the most visible being street art.”
A few conservative entertainers lost jobs simply for being vocal Trump supporters. Denver-based comic Steve McGrew had a standing gig to play Brad Garrett’s Las Vegas comedy club each December. McGrew said that ended when Garrett, whose Twitter feed teems with Trump hatred, sent him a letter severing their professional ties.
Why? McGrew’s act may be apolitical, but the comic shares his Trump support on social media. That forced Garrett’s hand, the “Everybody Loves Raymond” alum told McGrew.
Musician and “America’s Got Talent” alum Benton Blount got kicked off of ZZ Top musician Billy Gibbons’ tour after posting a picture of himself wearing a red Trump hat and holding Chick-Fil-A food on Facebook.
The indie film “Gosnell” attempted to buy advertising on NPR, but the radio company served up a flimsy reason for rejecting the ad’s verbiage. The left-leaning Daily Beast, of all sites, debunked the NPR explanation.That’s just part of a larger discrimination pattern.
Conservative speakers are routinely harassed on college campuses, both far-right provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos and mature intellects such as Christina Hoff Sommers. Others, like culture warrior Ben Shapiro, require thousands of dollars in security just to appear on a campus. At UC Berkeley, the price tag to protect the slight Shapiro? A cool $600,000.
Meanwhile, conservatives both in and out of Hollywood found themselves kicked off or targeted by our social media overlords. Prager U, an educational division led by conservative talker Dennis Prager, is routinely flagged by YouTube for spurious reasons.
A number of prominent conservatives got kicked off Twitter, often with little or no explanation. They include former Republican candidate Jesse Kelly and Bruce Carroll, the latter of whom is also known as Gay Patriot.
Twitter swiftly reinstated Kelly following a sharp outcry from conservatives. The company’s explanation sounded sketchy at best.
The team behind “Gosnell” claimed it tried to use Facebook to spread the news about the film’s release. Facebook wouldn’t allow it, citing a policy against political messaging. The product in question is a movie based on actual events.
A good Hollywood liberal would want every voice to be heard — and they wouldn’t like to see people punished for holding the “wrong” positions. Imagine what it would mean to hear, say, George Clooney come out against any of the above.
“I may not agree with their views, but conservative entertainers should be able to tell their stories just like any other artist,” the Oscar winner said from the stage of the 2019 Academy Awards in an impromptu appeal to bipartisan ship.
Heck, it might just start a cultural shift. Remember how Jerry Seinfeld’s attack on politically-correct groupthink on college campuses rocked the news cycle in 2015?
Instead, we’ve yet to hear one prominent Hollywood liberal deplore any of the aforementioned examples.
Their silence gets louder every day. History hasn’t been kind to the ‘50s blacklist era. The same may some day be said of modern Hollywood, a “woke” industry that wouldn’t stand up for freedom of expression when it counted.
Christian Toto is editor of Hollywood In Toto, a conservative entertainment site.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.