Despite his top-dog spot on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where issues of interest to Hollywood frequently take center stage, the entertainment industry hasn’t treated Barack Obama’s veep pick, Joe Biden, like it typically does Democrats; at least not in the way politicians care most about — by showering him with money.
Even though the Delaware senator has sent Tinseltown the right signals, with his strong stance against copyright infringement a la piracy, in which he called music and movies “just as precious as any tangible property,” Biden has basically been treated like a political second fiddle.
Over his long senate career, entertainment industry contributions to him have totaled about $390,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Biden only managed to pull in around $187,000 for his presidential bid, which included donations from Barry Manilow and Cher (to his PAC). Donors also included former owner of MGM/UA Kirk Kerkorian; former ABC, Paramount, and Fox exec Barry Diller; Fox exec Tom Rothman; TV producer and exec Tom Werner; Warner Music head Edgar Bronfman Jr.; and “9 ½ Weeks” producer Sidney Kimmel.
During the 2007 Iowa caucuses, Obama’s running mate also got some campaign help from “West Wing” actor Richard Schiff.
In a weird foreshadowing of sorts, when Biden pulled the plug on his own presidential bid he noted that when compared with his competition, he’d been ignored by the media because in his words, “This is about celebrity.”
Another instance where Hollywood is reluctant to fork over money involves Danny Glover and his dictator flick. Glover is miffed. The actor has a habit of palling around with despots, most recently Hugo Chavez. But it seems that Chavez, who invested $18 million dollars for 50 percent of a movie script, doesn’t exactly have a whole lot of other dictator adoring fans because Glover can’t find anyone to cough up the other half of the financing.
The New York Post reports that the “Lethal Weapon” actor claims the reason he’s unable to complete the funding is because of Hollywood’s racism. “Producers said, ‘It's a nice project, a great project . . . where are the white heroes?’” Glover told a Paris film seminar.
He claimed that he couldn’t get the funding and that he “went to everybody.”
“The first question you get is, ‘Is it a black film?’ All of them agree, ‘It's not going to do good in Europe; it's not going to do good in Japan.’ Somebody has to prove that to be a lie,” Glover said, according to the Pan-African Newswire.
The Hollywood racist charge isn’t going to stick as long as the films that Glover himself has starred in are on cable a gazillion times a week.
James Hirsen is a media analyst, Trinity Law School professor, and teacher of mass media and entertainment law at Biola University.
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