Meryl Streep’s moving speech at the 2017 Golden Globes, criticizing President Donald Trump for mocking a disabled reporter, was seemingly deserving of universal praise. Who can argue that disadvantaged people should not be crudely mocked by someone of great influence and power. Yet, Paul Mirengoff, a writer for the American political blog Power Line, called her out on it in vehement fashion. Mirengoff cited her applause for Roman Polanski years prior as incredibly contradictory and pompous:
“The enthusiastic applause by Streep and many others for Polanski, who having fled the U.S. couldn’t accept it in person, tells you everything you need to know about Hollywood and its celebrities. The attitude that underlies this reaction helps explain why I almost never watch anything that Hollywood currently grinds out.
It helps explains why most Americans don’t take the pompous utterances of people like Meryl Streep seriously, why many Americans hate Hollywood, and why the rest of the country should.”
Sentiments like these began during Trump’s candidacy, and they have festered throughout his polarizing first year. Many conservatives loyal to Trump have begun to truly despise Hollywood. But now, as case after case of sexual assault in Hollywood has surfaced, the same condemnations are being adopted by more moderate Americans, those who are at the center of our political spectrum. The entertainment industry is in ethical shambles, and the country is watching. A survey of 2201 respondents conducted by Morning Consult in mid-October found:
– Fifty percent of self-identifying moderates think Hollywood has too much influence on American politics. Twenty-nine percent of self-identifying liberals think the same.
– Only 35 percent of all respondents view Hollywood favorably.
Harvey Weinstein’s empire has fallen. House of Cards’ production has been cancelled due to sexual harassment claims against Kevin Spacey. Dustin Hoffman faces similar accusations from a then-17-year-old movie production assistant. And, as of a few days ago, Brett Ratner (director of movies like Rush Hour and X-Men: The Last Stand) has had to face several of his own allegations of sexual misconduct. In short, some of Hollywood’s biggest names are currently under intense scrutiny for their personal and professional ethics, and the industry itself is ablaze.
These recent Hollywood indictments strengthen a growing hatred of Hollywood. An industry once associated with a bit more integrity is now being looked at as disgustingly complicit and hypocritical. And President Trump, who has repeatedly accused Hollywood (ironically, I might add) of elitism and self-righteousness, looks to be right on the money.
The country itself has a short memory when it comes to these things, but for right now Hollywood has never looked worse. How it responds at the next awards show is anyone’s guess.
Senior Marketing Major
UConn School of Business