Hollywood has a hypocrisy problem. Stars and celebrities love to preach to the rest of the world about issues they feel are important. It’s an understandable temptation when cameras are always pointed at you.
However, Hollywood’s problem isn’t its preaching — it’s its inability to practice what it preaches.
Stars will warn of global warming and caution middle America to cut back while they fly on private jets and leave carbon footprints we can only imagine. They preach about how Americans should give up their guns while they release films that practically act as sizzle reels for gun manufacturers and have the luxury of personal bodyguards with them when they choose.
The latest blatant blemish of hypocrisy out of Hollywood comes from George Clooney. The “Ocean’s Eleven” star recently held a couple of fundraisers for his pick for president, Hillary Clinton. The events had ticket costs between $30,000 and $350,000. This, of course, despite the fact that Clooney has bemoaned big money in politics and its influence on elections. The fundraisers may have raked in as much as $15 million, according to Deadline.
The fundraisers drew protests and even criticism from presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Clooney hit the talk show circuit to wince at his own hypocrisy — while still managing to further it.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Clooney admitted the lavishness of the fundraisers and the way it made him look as a liberal Democrat at odds with “corporate America.”
“I think it’s an obscene amount of money,” he acknowledged. “I think — you know that we had some protesters last night when we pulled up in San Francisco and they’re right to protest, they’re absolutely right, it is an obscene amount of money … It’s ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics.”
Despite taking part in influencing an election and supporting a candidate disliked even by many in her own party, Clooney denied being a “corporate shill.”
Regardless of his willingness to laugh at himself and admit the duplicity, Clooney only furthered his hypocritical star status by managing to preach to the rest of America by ordering people to take action. It was a strange way of shifting blame.
“We need to take the Senate back because we need to confirm a Supreme Court justice, because that fifth vote on the Supreme Court can overturn Citizens United and get this obscene, ridiculous amount of money out so I never have to do a fundraiser again,” Clooney said.
Clooney’s recent behavior is only the tip of the iceberg for Hollywood hypocrisy. While the majority of artists living in sunny California stump for Democrats and calls themselves liberals, wishing more and more taxes upon the populace, they themselves take advantage of tax breaks whenever they can.
Obama supporter Jon Bon Jovi famously paid a mere $100 in taxes one year on a massive amount of property by taking advantage of a farm subsidy loophole. He’s not the only one. You’ll find plenty of celebrities touring with Sanders and Clinton, helping to promote a narrative about corporate greed and tax-dodging millionaires ruining the country. Yet when it comes time to make a film, studios and filmmakers rush to states that offer massive tax credits, like Georgia. Tax credits for films can reimburse filmmakers with tens of millions of dollars. Many movies even shuttle out of country to take advantage of tax havens.
The buck doesn’t stop there. You’ll find plenty of other celebrities willing to preach to the world about things like global warming or gun control. Leonardo DiCaprio valiantly fights for the better treatment of forests and more mindful approaches to consuming natural resources, yet the man flies around the world in a private jet, has wasteful parties on private boats, and generally leaves a carbon footprint it would take others multiple lifetimes to create.
Harrison Ford is another celeb who worries about global warming. He even created an ad where his chest was painfully waxed in front of cameras to help people understand the painful way we consume the rainforest — or something like that.
This same man owns multiple private planes and once made a flight in a private jet just to get a cheeseburger. When confronted by “Hollywood Hypocrites” author James Mattera and a cameraman, Ford simply ignored the accusations of hypocrisy and went on stumping for his cause.
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“I don’t care that he owns seven airplanes,” said Mattera, “but do not lecture the rest of us that we’re on the precipice of global warming Armageddon while you have a Sasquatch-sized carbon footprint.”
What is it that makes Hollywood a hotspot for hypocrisy? What is it that makes a celebrity who walks the red carpet with armed bodyguards preach about gun control to the masses? It may be bred from the simple nature of the job.
Most celebrities have the privilege of living in a bubble. Bon Jovi may check the box next to Obama, but he’s got people to take care of his taxes for him. Celebrities can often be cut off from the practicalities of life. They are hypocrites because, simply, they can afford to be.
Talking to John Stossel about the obsession of his fellow actors with liberal policies despite getting rich off capitalism, “Hercules” actor Kevin Sorbo commented, “It’s a very entrepreneurial business. You have to work very hard to get lucky, mixed with any kind of talent to get a break in this business. I told Clooney, ‘George, you’re worth $100 million — of course you can afford to be a socialist!'”