A recent incident involving Teri Hatcher has once again put the dirty little secret about one of Tinseltown’s oppressed minorities in the spotlight.
Apparently concerned that the “Desperate Housewives” star might possibly be labeled with the “Scarlet R,” in a letter to the Washington Times Hatcher’s attorney included the following: “Please be advised that Ms. Hatcher is not a Republican.”
This is all strangely reminiscent of something I reported on back in 2004, when, in the political sense, Details magazine “outed” Mandy Moore.
The response from Moore’s publicist at the time said it all. It stated: “Mandy is not, nor has she ever been, a Republican.”
The truth of the matter is Hollywood folks like Sean Penn, Barbra Streisand, and Robert Redford can shout their ultra-liberal views to the rafters while right-of-center stars must whisper, or better yet, cork it altogether.
In Hollywood, being branded a Republican may not only be hazardous to your social calendar, it can put the kibosh on your career.
Even those who in the past may merely have been supportive of Republican candidates must sometimes dodge the “R” ball. Bruce Willis and Tom Selleck’s representatives have indicated that both prefer to be known as independents, while Kurt Russell and Drew Carey favor the libertarian label.
“The Price Is Right” host Carey said, “It automatically hurts me if I said that I supported the war in Iraq and I support the troops.”
Patricia Heaton, star of the new hit “Back to You,” remembers having dinner with Hollywood friends and being met with stony silence after she let it be known that she was voting for now-President Bush. “You'd think I'd cr***ed in the middle of the table," Heaton said.
Multiple Emmy nominee Ron Silver explained, “Since speaking in support of George Bush I’ve become increasingly disadmired by members of my profession.”
In a place where connections are indispensable to success, you live liberal or die. And you wait for John Wayne to ride back into Hollywood.
While waiting, there’s one thing you don’t want to do — patronize movies the likes of Mark Cuban and Brian De Palma’s “Redacted.”
Cuban is a billionaire, owns the Dallas Mavericks, heads a film company and TV channel, and recently lasted a few rounds on “Dancing with the Stars.” But the guy apparently doesn’t understand the responsibility that comes with a media megaphone.
Neither does movie director Brian De Palma. When there’s a war blazing and our bravest are in harm’s way, it’s irresponsible at a minimum to produce and distribute material that endangers our troops and their mission.
Cuban and De Palma, in my opinion, have done just that with their deplorable film “Redacted.”
The movie focuses on real-life atrocities committed by soldiers. It presents one-dimensional villains dressed up in U.S. military uniforms. A brutal rape and murder scene is the centerpiece of the movie.
To punctuate the propaganda for the enemy, the film ends with a gruesome montage called “Collateral Damage,” in which pictures of dead Iraqis are projected on the screen and whose identities have been “blacked out” apparently due to legal concerns.
The film recklessly communicates that this kind of brutality by members of the American military is the norm and that the U.S. administration is engaged in a cover-up.
Omitted from the film is the fact that all five of those involved in the actual incident were arrested and charged for the crime. Three have been sentenced to prison for the rest of their lives. And the ringleader was ejected from the Army before the crime was ever reported. That soldier will face the death penalty in a Kentucky federal court.
De Palma has hit the rape theme before, in a 1980s anti-Vietnam war movie called “Casualties of War.” The director explained that “the premise for both wars [Vietnam and Iraq] is essentially the same, and that's why this particular atrocity has occurred twice.”
“The rape case in ‘Casualties of War’ was a very dramatic metaphor for our involvement over there, in which we raped a country and then left,” De Palma said.
How people who have been given so much can commit onscreen libel of the military is despicable. How they can do so at a time of war is unconscionable. How they can sleep at night is a mystery.
James Hirsen is a media analyst, Trinity Law School professor and teacher of mass media law at Biola University.
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