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 whacky and sometimes inspiring takes on today’s current events.
Netflix has been defending itself for the new show from Dave Chappelle, The Closer, in which the comedian added transgender dialogue that caused an uproar among the LGBTQ community. In protest, hundreds of activists gathered outside the Los Angeles, CA Netflix offices to support a virtual walkout in support of transgender employees.
Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, agreed that he “screwed up” by sending out memos in defense of Chappelle’s comedy show, but is still resisting the demands made by the protest organizers, which include either adding a disclaimer to the show or even taking it down altogether. Also on the list was an official company statement that acknowledges the “harm” caused to the transgender community and that Netflix remove all references to the comedian, including murals and posters, from the workplace. The organizers also want top roles given to trans people.
As Liberty Nation reported, there were rumors that three employees were suspended for speaking out against the comedian. However, it turned out that those employees had pushed themselves inside a top-level meeting they had not been invited to attend. One employee who was considered one of the leaders of the “trans employee resource group” was fired, though – but not just for being anti-Chappelle.
According to the company, the employee was dismissed over suspicion of leaking confidential information, including the amount paid to Chappelle to produce the show: a whopping $24.1 million. “We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company,” a Netflix spokesperson said.
Paris Hilton’s Horrific Abuse and “Troubled Teen” Bill
Reality star Paris Hilton spoke of the abuse she experienced in care facilities as a teenager during a press conference on Capitol Hill:
“I was strangled, slapped across the face, watched in the shower by male staff, called vulgar names, forced to take medication without a proper diagnosis, not given a proper education, thrown into solitary confinement in a room covered in scratch marks and smeared in blood, and so much more.”
Next to her were Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Adam Schiff (D-CA), who are introducing the “Accountability for Congregate Care Act of 2021.” If passed, it would provide federal oversight for the care of troubled teens. Hilton, who introduced herself as a survivor, explained her suffering: “For 20 years I couldn’t sleep at night, with memories of physical violence, the feeling of loneliness, the loss of peers, rush through my mind. It was not just insomnia. It was trauma.”
The star then spoke of an incident that happened at the age of 16, when she had been taken from her bed in the middle of the night by two men who asked if she wanted to go “the easy way or the hard way.” She continued:
“Thinking I was being kidnapped I screamed for my parents. And as I was being physically dragged out of my house, I just saw them crying in the hallway.
They didn’t come to my rescue that night. This was my introduction to the troubled teen industry.”
Hilton said her parents were promised that she would be fixed through tough love. In just a two-year period, she had been in four different facilities. At Provo Canyon School in Utah, she was not known as Paris, but number 127. She claims she was forced to stay inside the building for 11 months because sunlight and fresh air were considered privileges.
“The multi-billion-dollar troubled teen industry has been able to mislead parents, school districts, child welfare agencies, and juvenile justice systems for decades,” Hilton explained. The Accountability for Congregate Care Act of 2021 would codify a bill of rights for young people in care institutions, including boarding schools and foster care facilities. It would also create a Department of Justice commission to authorize grants to implement improvements.
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.
Alyssa Milano Arrested
Actress and liberal activist Alyssa Milano was arrested during a protest at the White House on Oct. 19. Most known for her roles in the television shows Who’s the Boss and Charmed, she has a name for herself with her progressive views and has even mentioned running for Congress in 2024. Pictures from the event show Milano leading a march and demanding President Biden protect voting rights.
Milano said, “States across the country are trying to take it [voting rights] away from so many people in a cynical power grab. We can’t let them. We need federal law right now to protect voting rights for all Americans, no matter which state they happen to live in. It’s a cause worth getting arrested for.” She was detained on a Washington, D.C. misdemeanor law that prohibits crowding or obstructing streets and sidewalks.
Capt. Kirk, Prince William, and Sulu
Captain Kirk, Lieutenant Sulu, and Prince William: What do those three have in common? Well, apparently, it didn’t sit well with the other two that the captain – William Shatner – was given a ride to space by Blue Origin. “It really is quite crucial to be focusing on this [planet] rather than giving up and heading out into space to try and think of solutions for the future,” the royal said. “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”
Shatner responded with: “He’s a lovely Englishman. He’s going to be king of England one day. He’s a lovely, gentle, educated man, but he’s got the wrong idea.” He continued: “The prince is missing the point. The point is these are the baby steps to show people [that] it’s very practical. You can send somebody like me up into space.”
The rivalry between Shatner and former co-star George Takei, who played Sulu in the television series Star Trek, was a bit more personal. Takei said, “He’s boldly gone where other people have gone before.” And then, when asked about the accomplishment for the 90-year-old actor, being the oldest person in space, Takei, 84, quipped: “He’s a guinea pig, 90 years old and it’s important to find out what happens. So 90 years old is going to show a great deal more on the wear and tear of the human body, so he’ll be a good specimen to study. Although, he’s not the fittest specimen of 90 years old, so he’ll be a specimen that’s unfit!”
Celebrities say the darndest things …
Speaking of Captain Kirk, when he found out his space travel was going to be televised, he tweeted out: “Are you interrupting the soaps? People aren’t going to like that.”
After all the hoopla with Dave Chappelle’s newest comedy show, Dr. Jordan Peterson took to Twitter to say, “Courage and comedy are not different. An old friend said to me once ‘you can say anything you want as long as it’s true or funny.’ Never forgot that. Anyone who attacks a comedian is a tyrant-in-waiting.”
And finally, Mr. Hercules himself. First, Kevin Sorbo had this gem regarding the problems plaguing Southwest Airlines: “Southwest Airlines Offering Free Flights To All Passengers Who Are Vaccinated And Can Fly A Plane!” And then the actor quipped about the coronavirus: “I could tell you a joke, but 99.9% of you wouldn’t get it.”
Tune in next week to see what else Tinseltown has planned.
~ Read more from Kelli Ballard.