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Student Views: Is the Politization of Hollywood Good or Bad for Society?

Written by: Communicator StaffJanuary 25, 2018

By: Ben Bailey

Movie stars, musicians, business moguls, and more public figures have forayed into the political spectrum in recent weeks and months.

Since President Donald Trump won his seat in the November 2016 election, many celebrities have taken outwardly vocal stances against his policies and demeanor.

Meryl Streep, John Legend, Olivia Wilde and Mark Ruffalo are only a few of the many celebrities who have criticized the president’s positions and the stances of the Republican Party.

Among the many methods that Hollywood stars use to spread their personal beliefs, award shows are becoming increasingly rife with politically charged acceptance speeches.

At the 2017 Golden Globe Awards, actress Meryl Streep delivered an extremely anti-Trump themed speech after receiving her award.

“Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. O.K., go on with it,” Streep said.

Additionally, talk show host and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey’s speech after winning the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards left many celebrities urging her to run for president in 2020.

While celebrities continue to voice support for political issues and candidates, some have questioned whether this increasing politicization of Hollywood is helpful for American society.

In a May 2017 opinion piece, Timothy Stanley, a historian and columnist for “The Daily Telegraph,” argued that the constant outpouring of political messages from celebrities without changing their own ways serves only to anger and divide American society.

While Stanley agreed with many of the positions that celebrities were taking, he argued that average Americans are tired of being politically lectured by celebrities.

“People hate being lectured by Hollywood. Why? Partly it’s because Los Angeles is a strange, alien land full of beautiful eccentrics who use private jets like the rest of us use cabs,” Stanley said.

The politicization of Hollywood is showing no signs of stopping. In fact, it is sometimes now considered abnormal for celebrities to not include a politically charged message when accepting awards or appearing on talk shows.

 “They are over abusing their platform. They want to turn everything political when they should just do what they do best, entertain. Not get so involved in the political agenda. Keep that outside of the entertainment world… Every award show they have now… When they go up and start spewing their political agenda. They should just be thankful for receiving the award”

- Jake Girardot, junior, mechanical Engineering

“It’s probably not helpful. Everyone has their opinions and views, but politics doesn’t always have to be involved in everything. It can be annoying to me when everyone everywhere is talking about politics like when you’re just trying to watch an award show.”

- Anna Stuckey, junior, interior design

“It is alienating in every way imaginable. Frankly, Hollywood stars are elitists who are dividing this country with their own political views and they are actively trying to push their agenda on society on politics and on the people through their movies music and art. Frankly, it’s a problem.”

- Ryley Deputy, senior, history

“I think it is cool to see people stand for something that they think is important and helping others stand for things that are important … As far as the specific views, I don’t think anyone should be discouraged by their views. It is important to still stand by what you believe even if you do see these popular figures and what they believe… But it’s cool to see and cool to see them come together as a community.”

- Madison Witent, senior, psychology

         “It’s definitely alienating and I don’t think it’s helpful. It brings some of these issues to light, but these celebrities and public figures really don’t know what they’re talking about. They don’t study political science, many of them aren’t well educated. Basically, no, it’s not helpful and just polarizes people more and alienates half of their fan base. The me too movement is important and it’s important that people know about the things that happened. But they’ve known about it for decades and now I think they’re just virtue signaling and they don’t understand the issues they’re talking about.”

- David Gottfried, freshman, psychology