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 Liberty Nation each week as we shine the spotlight on Tinsel Town’s A-listers and their whacky and sometimes inspiring takes on today’s current events.
The entire world was focused this week on the death of George Floyd and the protests and looting that followed in its wake. As police officers groveled to black people, some even getting on their hands and knees and washing feet, celebrities joined the movement in their own unique and quirky ways.
HollyWeird’s finest female actresses (and some politicians of course) gave up their Instagram accounts on Wednesday, June 10 to black female activists in the #ShareTheMicNow campaign to give power to black women’s voices. The one-day event was organized by Endeavor CMO Bozoma Saint John, fashion designer Stacey Bendet, and bestselling authors Luvvie Ajayi Jones and Glennon Doyle.
Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Hilary Swank were just some of the actresses to hand over their mics. Angelica Ross from the TV show Pose shared Swank’s account, while Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the Los Angeles Black Lives Matter branch, shared comedian Chelsea Handler’s page. Abdullah stressed the importance of defunding the police and “suing LAPD for shooting protesters with rubber bullets and beating us with batons.”
The acting president of Planned Parenthood, Alexis McGill Johnson, used her time on Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) account to advocate for abortion rights among black women:
“The over-policing of black bodies extends far beyond the actions of individual police officers,” she said. “It’s in our workplaces, it’s in our schools, our public institutions, and yes, it is in our healthcare system.
“If Black people do not have the right to bodily autonomy, to live their daily lives, or protest the violence against their lives without the fear of murder or violence, we can never achieve justice, let alone reproductive freedom.”
Some other notables include author Brittney Cooper, who took over Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert’s Instagram. Paltrow handed over the reins to GlowMaven, founder of maternity lifestyle brand Mama Glow. Jessica O. Matthews, founder and CEO of alternative energy company Unchartered Power, spoke out on Ashley Judd’s account. And, not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton gave her mic to Zerlina Maxwell, a blog writer who unsurprisingly worked on both Barack Obama’s and Hillary’s campaigns.
Spike Lee: Trump’s Narrative and Defunding the Police
During an interview on Today Show Radio with Al Roker, Spike Lee warned listeners about the defund the police message. While advocating for the need for police – just a different kind and system – the Oscar-winning director expressed his concern that President Donald Trump would twist the meaning:
“[Activists] have to be careful with the words because already this guy is running with that. You know the guy I’m talking about. Agent Orange. And again, he’s trying to twist the narrative like he did with [former NFL quarterback Colin] Kaepernick and the kneeling – trying to say that was about disrespecting the flag, but that wasn’t it at all.”
Lee echoed what the right has been saying about the left and liberal media all along. “We’ve got to be careful what we say because one or two wrong words, they’ll twist that thing around and the narratives change. I don’t think people are saying we don’t need police at all, but ‘defund the police’ – I think there [could] be better terminology.”
“I Take Responsibility”
Several Hollywood personalities joined the “I Take Responsibility” campaign and pledged in a public service announcement that they will no longer participate in, contribute to, or allow racism in their presence. Included in the video are Kristen Bell, Mark Duplass, Ilana Glazer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Kesha, Bethany Joy Lenz, Debra Messing, Julianne Moore, Aaron Paul, Sarah Paulson, Piper Perabo, Justin Theroux, and Stanley Tucci.
Moore was pretty vocal, stating, “Black people are being slaughtered in the street. Killed in their own homes. These are our brothers and sisters.” Piper Perabo continues the thought in the next clip: “Our friends. Our family. We are done watching them die. We are no longer bystanders. We will not be idle. Enough is enough.”
Tinsel Town’s advocates put on their most serious expressions and repeated the “I take responsibility” mantra and followed it up with the climactic ending of the repetitive “I stand against hate.”
Say Goodbye to Cop Shows
First, Paramount Network canceled the reality show Cops after protests and riots over George Floyd’s death swept across the nation. It was only a matter of time before other networks followed suit as well. Discovery’s ID channel has reported it will cancel Body Cam, and amid much controversy, A&E has suddenly canceled Live PD which is wildly popular and had just renewed its contract with an extra 160 episodes.
The decision to remove the reality police show came after the Austin American-Statesman, on June 8, reported that the Live PD crew had shot a video of the death of Javier Ambler II in March 2019 at the hands of Williamson County sheriff’s deputies, and that they had destroyed the footage.
The show’s host, Dan Abrams, was shocked and upset at the decision and went onto Twitter to express his disbelief. He wrote, “@statesman should really focus on the death of Javier Ambler and on the fact that DA @ElectMargaret [District Attorney Margaret Moore] is suddenly focused on this now even though she had the body cam footage for over a year? Their reporting on #LivePd has been a journalistic disaster.”
Facebook Post Leads to Administrative Leave for Exec
Ron Johnson, the global head of consumer products for Riot Games, was placed on administrative leave after posting a picture of George Floyd and the words “The media and the left have made George Floyd into a martyr. But who was he really?” The video game development company is based out of Santa Monica, CA and has produced such games as League of Legends.
Oprah Winfrey and “White Privilege”
The famed talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, joined in on the melee and hosted a two-night conversation called “Where Do We Go From Here?” Director Ava DuVernay, actor David Oyelowo, former U.S. Rep. Stacey Abrams, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms were the featured guests to talk about racism and white privilege.
Winfrey did admit that the term could be “difficult” for many people to “accept or grasp” because it’s associated with “affluence,” and she suggested “advantage” for a replacement description. The New York Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones said white privilege was akin to “swimming along the current” while “The Black experience is working hard and swimming against the current.” Charles M. Blow, a journalist and author, compared oppression and privilege to a seesaw where the privileged are always up if others are down.
Oyelowo said the country needs to repent because racism “is built into everything” and the panel of guests discussed what can and should be the next steps in curing the nation. A Civil Rights Bill 2020 was mentioned as well as Abrams insisting voter suppression was a big problem for the black community.
That about wraps things up for this edition of The Politics of HollyWeird. Tune in next week to see what our celebrities have been up to.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.