Stacey Dash, best known for her comedic turn as the well-honed Dionne in 1995’s Clueless, came out the other week in support of Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. “Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future,” she tweeted. Normally, exercising one’s right to free speech would not be a big deal, but in Hollywood, Dash’s views certainly go against the grain. The Internet’s abuzz with what’s been euphemistically described as “extreme criticism” over Stacey’s political endorsement. Now in theory, everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion, but this is show business, and actors are scrutinized over their bodies, their relationships, the clothes they wear–and their political views.

Back in the day, people considered it impolite to talk about politics in mixed company. And for good reason: political discussions have the potential to make people crazy, passions run hot, and it seems many are peculiarly sensitive as well as easily offended. But when you get to a certain point as an actor, your politics may become an issue. Assuming you have an IMDb profile, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account, you might already be at that point. So before you type your political opinions, consider the potential long-term consequences. This is not to say you should not stand up for what you believe is right, but rather to be cognizant of what you choose to say in public, and what you choose to keep private. An actor friend once told me his agent dropped him; he was wondering if being let go had anything to do with an email he’d sent his agent which expressed strong political views. He went on to say he regretted the email. “I should have kept the agent-actor relationship a professional one,” he concluded.

Stacey Dash doesn’t appear to regret her endorsement though. In fact, she recently tweeted a photo of her standing next to GOP VP hopeful, Paul Ryan, along with the words, “Fighting the good fight. Godspeed.” However, she admittted to being shocked at the backlash she received after her first tweet. It remains to be seen if her stance will affect her career to any extent.

If your goal is to achieve some degree of fame for your character depictions, the public has proven to be a curious bunch, to put it mildly. If you’ve publically stated your political convictions, people out there will likely find them. Are you ready to fight the good fight? Or do you prefer to keep a sturdy wall between personal and public?