Entertainment

Celebrity Protests Against Trump Hit New Low

Events that flout dignity, decency, and respect help no one

Every president is going to have someone or some group protest his ideas, beliefs, or policies. The most noticeable of those public critiques will likely come from celebrities — who possess the gift of immediate press attention and platforms on which to tell the world their opinions.

With Donald Trump still preparing to take office as the president-elect, celebrity protesters have already taken a more vitriolic tone in their outbursts than possibly we have ever seen before. The rules of decency and respect regarding the Oval Office are being entirely rewritten before Trump even enters the White House.

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We’ve already witnessed comedian Patton Oswalt drop his usual thoughtfulness to promote terrorist attacks against Trump-owned buildings around the world and seen “Man of Steel” actor Michael Shannon call for civil war and voter death in the wake of Trump’s victory.

Now, others are continuing the same outrageous behavior. The rock band Guns N’ Roses invited fans onstage last week to beat a piñata version of the president-elect — and thought nothing of dropping the F-bomb. “Let’s bring up some people and give them a f***ing stick,” said controversial lead singer Axl Rose. After the fans got sticks in hand to beat the piñata with, Rose said, “Express yourselves however you feel.”

It should go without saying that if a musician had brought a piñata version of President Obama onstage and invited people to beat it with sticks — the mainstream media would be in a frenzy and an apology would be demanded. There would be serious consequences.

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When it comes to Trump, it seems to just be an accepted form of protest.

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To make matters worse, the band wasn’t even in country. They were bad-mouthing the president-elect and taking part in a fantasy beat down of him while in Mexico City.

In an interview from last week with “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, Hillary Clinton supporter and television host Chelsea Handler was still reeling from election results and refused to speak about Trump as even a human being.

“I can’t even discuss him in real terms. He’s not a real person,” she said after praising Clinton’s record.

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Even the press is in on the fun. A CNN staffer was caught in a video obtained by FTVLive joking while waiting for the president-elect’s plane to land in Indiana, “That means his plane’s crashed … just kidding.” The comment came while the press was watching hand signals from staffers on the runway.

“We have apologized to the Trump transition team, and the producer has been disciplined,” a CNN spokesperson told The Wrap after the comment went public.

These kinds of comments would not be tolerated regarding President Obama, so why should a President Trump be any different? To even suggest Obama was doing a bad job as president was to put yourself in the running for racist of the month — but with Trump, the rules are being completely rewritten right under our noses.

Jokes about death and terrorism, beating a Trump piñata onstage while touring around the country, referring to the president as “not a real person” — these are not normal forms of protest. These are extreme comments and conduct — yet they are not being treated as such.

Protesting and criticizing a president is normal behavior. We have freedom of speech in this country. However, allowing rhetoric to irresponsibly fall to the level of angry outbursts that most wouldn’t even say in private does no person any good and benefits no side of a cultural or political debate.

While we’ve witnessed positive cultural changes in the aftermath of Trump’s victory, there is also a segment of celebrities and the media who are aggressively attempting to throw the normal rules of human decency and rhetoric to the wind. Whether they like it or not, Donald Trump will be president — and no matter what side of the aisle people are on, that should call for a modicum of respect.

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