Up until now the Obama administration had managed to keep secret from the public the existence of an extravagant White House social gathering, which took place a few years back. Officials apparently thought that aspects of the party could potentially have been harmful to the president’s image.
The event in question was a gaudy costume ball with an “Alice in Wonderland” theme, which had evidently been planned by actor Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton.
New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor wrote about the 2009 Halloween event in her new book titled “The Obamas.”
During the time period in which the elaborate affair took place, the tea party had been expressing dissatisfaction with the taxpayer-funded bailouts, enormous debt, ballooning deficit, rising unemployment, and a vote that was forthcoming on Obamacare.
Apparently, instead of officially announcing that a Hollywood-White House party was in the works, the Obama administration took a hush-hush approach, keeping information about the event from the people and the press.
“White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans — or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on healthcare — that the event was not discussed publicly and Burton’s and Depp’s contributions went unacknowledged,” according to Kantor.
The administration did however blatantly publicize other seemingly acceptable Halloween celebrations that took place earlier on the same day, in which thousands of Washington, D.C. children participated.
The clandestine festivity was not a run-of-the-mill celebration, even by Hollywood standards. Rather, the posh party took place in the State Dining Room, which had been extensively redecorated by Burton to make it look as though it was a movie set from the “Wonderland” film.
Stepping into the theatrical scene of the “Alice in Wonderland” Mad Hatter’s tea party, attendees were treated to the visual extravaganza of some huge stuffed animal characters festively gathered around a long dining table upon which sat an array of Halloween goodies.
“Fruit punch was served in blood vials at the bar. Burton’s own Mad Hatter, the actor Johnny Depp, presided over the scene in full costume, standing up on a table to welcome everyone in character,” Kantor wrote.
“Star Wars” creator George Lucas even provided the original Chewbacca to give guests a furry thrill.
It would have been expected that Depp, Burton, and Disney would have been willing participants in the White House’s Halloween fantasy affair since such an occasion would have generated much sought-after publicity for the film just prior to its release date. However, the studio, director, and stars of the movie stayed curiously mum.
In addition, there were no press releases, no mention of the event at publicity junkets, and no published photos of the affair.
Interestingly, in this case it appears that alliances with certain politicians were even more important to the Hollywood power players than were ticket sales.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court and has made several appearances there on landmark decisions. Visit Newsmax.TV Hollywood.
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