Should Actors Talk Politics?

October 14, 2013

James-woods-anti-obama.jpgJames Woods thinks the president is a true abomination, and he’s taken to Twitter to unleash a series of scandalous comments about Obama in the wake of the ongoing government shutdown. “The President is a true abomination. To have barricaded the WW2 vets, but allow illegal aliens privilege…” was later followed up with calling Obama “just vile. A small, small man.”  Other pronouncements express dissatisfaction with the highly controversial Affordable Care Act: “ObamaScare is Cash for Clunkers, but with your life in the balance.” He likewise criticized Obama for America’s problems with gun violence, and race relations. And while many polls indicate that Americans, for the most part, blame congressional Republicans for the government shutdown, Woods places the blame squarely on the POTUS.

In the midst of this barrage, one of Woods’ Twitter followers questioned if he feared voicing his political opinions would result in losing work, being the entertainment industry is a traditionally liberal milieu. Woods replied, “I don’t expect to work again. I think Barack Obama is a threat to the integrity and future of the Republic. My country first.” While Woods may believe his onslaught of anti-Obama tweets will land his career in hot water, his opinions could very well be overlooked by Hollywood players. After all, Woods continued to work while expressing displeasure with the Obama administration during the filming of White House Down. He compared the president to Hitler and Stalin while playing the head of the president’s Secret Service detail in the action-packed thriller. But clearly, 66-year-old Woods is ready to risk his career. Unlike some celebrities who have raved on social media only to delete their tweets with an anemic apology, Woods refuses to back down: “This is a promise. No troll [liberal] jihad will ever stop me. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I am dedicated to my defense of America.”

The public’s response to Woods’ comments range from “Good for James Woods. A great actor and American!” to “Why does every celebrity feel the need to spew their politics on us? Now I can’t stand him.”

The entertainment business has a long history of established actors expressing their political opinions. Once an actor becomes famous, he or she has the freedom to take the podium on any given issue with a vast audience at his or her disposal. But even those actors who avoid sharing political opinions are often point blanked about topics of the day by reporters and interviewers. Many actors choose to safeguard their careers from any backlash about their political views, especially while in the prime of their careers. For instance, at the New York premier of his new film, Gravity, George Clooney was asked about the partial government shutdown. He optimistically replied, “Cooler heads will prevail,” Clooney maintained his diplomatic demeanor adding, “I know for a fact that there’s a lot of guys on the right who are also doing the best they can to stop this from happening or to put an end to it.”

When you become famous, how will you choose to handle such questions? 

James Woods is best known for his roles in SalvadorThe Virgin Suicides, Once Upon a Time in America, and White House Down.