Editor’s Note: Whether on screen or off, Hollywood can always be counted on to keep us entertained. This is especially true when it comes to politics. Join us each week as we shine the spotlight on Tinseltown’s A-listers and their wacky and sometimes inspiring takes on today’s current events.
Hollywood on Abortion
Since SCOTUS’ leaked draft of a Roe v. Wade decision, it seems everyone has been up in arms: those in full-blown panic over the Supreme Court banning abortions, and those outraged the leak happened in the first place. So, of course, the tenants of Tinseltown have to put in their two cents as well.
Although not outright calling for a boycott on states that would not allow abortion, the Writers Guild of America West suggested something close to it in a statement released last week:
“We call on our employers to consider the laws of each state when choosing production locations to ensure that our members will never be denied full access to reproductive healthcare.”
The statement also asserted: “Women’s rights are human rights, and any laws that ban or limit a woman’s right to choose are dangerous and set a precedent for further erosion of our collective civil rights.” So, this seems to encourage a ban on filming in states that do not allow abortions.
Meanwhile, co-hosts on The View expressed some strong opinions, even suggesting men should be penalized too. Sara Haines specifically focused on punishing men for their part in a pregnancy, saying, “When I hear people talk about this, I want to know now, when we say, ‘What could happen next?’ is how are we going to indict the men?”
Haines also talked about women who have been forced to have abortions. As an example, the host referred to the series Actors on Actors, from Amazon Studios, in which Rita Moreno claimed Marlon Brando forced her to terminate her pregnancy when he found out she was carrying his child. Haines opined:
“So are we talking aiding and abetting, are we talking accessory? Like, what are we talking? Because if women are gonna go down, the men that did this to them are going down, too.”
Why Are Suicides Climbing in Hollywood?
Among the serious aftereffects of the pandemic are large numbers of small businesses folding, drug and alcohol abuse increasing, and suicides rising. And Hollywood’s elites have been impacted as well. Singer Naomi Judd is the latest casualty, after the family reported she took her own life after suffering from mental illness for a long time.
Anim Aweh, a mental health therapist, said for celebrities it’s very difficult to cope with the fame that comes with their positions. “With that pressure to be perfect, there’s no room for vulnerability, no room for errors.”
It’s only May, but this year alone there have been several suicides:
- Cheslie Kryst: Model and 2019 Miss USA
- Jeremy Giambi: Professional baseball player
- Katie Meyer: Soccer player
- Chris Huvane: Hollywood manager
- Clint Arliss: Former Bachelorette contestant
- Kailia Posey: 16-year-old star from Toddlers and Tiaras
- Naomi Judd: Singer
Humans are social creatures, and with people locked away in their homes for so long, many suffered from lack of contact. For actors, their livelihood, fame, and, in many cases, their sense of esteem and self-worth come from the public.
Susan T. Lindau, clinical social worker and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California, said the pandemic-enforced periods of isolation made it even more difficult for those suffering with depression. “This puts them at higher risk for suicidal thoughts,” she added.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that suicides are more prevalent among different-gendered minorities, veterans, and ethnic groups. But the acting business was also listed: “Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (males: 32.0 per 100,000).”
Cheers and Jeers
Sometimes, HollyWeird players make headlines for silly or bizarre happenings, so here is a collection of newsworthy doings — honorable and dishonorable — by the tenants of Tinseltown.
Chappelle’s Attack and Hart’s Response
Last week, during one of comedian Dave Chappelle’s performances at the Hollywood Bowl, a man rushed the stage with a makeshift weapon and tackled him. Security nabbed the assailant right away, and Chappelle was not injured. He even included some comedy about it later in his act. This incident wasn’t as famous as Will Smith’s smack of Chris Rock at the Academy Awards ceremony, but the way security handled the matter just might work as a deterrence for future attacks, at least according to actor and comedian Kevin Hart.
Speaking on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Hart told the host: “Somebody getting their a– whooped sends a message to other people, you know?” He added: “I think that’s the world that we’re in right now. There’s a lot of lines that have gotten blurred. And sometimes you got to take a couple steps backward to take some steps forward.”
The assailant received a broken arm for his attack.
Fred Savage Fired for Misconduct
Do you remember Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold in the television classic The Wonder Years (1988-1993)? At the time Savage was a mega-star, the youngest actor nominated for an Emmy Award for best actor in a comedy. He was 13 years old at the time.
Now, however, as the actor was looking forward to being a part of the series reboot, he was fired over allegations of misconduct. Accusations from his past made headlines when it was reported that the young actor and his television brother, Jason Hervey, were sued for sexual harassment. At the time, Hervey was 20 and Savage was 16. The suit was settled out of court, and Alley Mills, who played Savage’s mother, said the accusation was “ridiculous.”
In 2018, a judge tossed complaints from others about misconduct during the TV series The Grinder (2015-2016), when a costumer said Savage hit and harassed her. This time, however, he received more than a slap on the wrist and was fired from the show. In an interview with Deadline, 20th Television said:
“Recently, we were made aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Fred Savage, and as is policy, an investigation was launched. Upon its completion, the decision was made to terminate his employment as an executive producer and director of The Wonder Years.”
Savage said the accusations “are absolutely untrue.”
Tune in next week to see what else Tinseltown has planned.