Celebrity Hypocrisy in an Age of Anthem Protests

Hollywood liberals love to protect, defend and stand up for free speech — as long as they agree with what's being said

Ever since President Donald Trump first condemned the National Football League for allowing its players to kneel for the national anthem, celebrities and professional athletes have largely come out against him.

Many have taken to social media to share images of themselves kneeling in solidarity with the protesters. Musicians such as Pharrell Williams and Eddie Vedder have also knelt in front of audiences at their concerts.

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What’s so stomach-turning about these artists’ furious support for the anthem protests is that it’s hypocritical. Liberal celebrities seem to only turn into free-speech warriors when they agree with what’s being said or done.

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Where were half these artists when campuses were being torn apart due to the arrival of conservative speakers like Ben Shapiro? Where were they when planned conservative speakers for the Berkeley Free Speech week were called off due to security concerns?

“I was set to perform a rousing ‘God Bless America’ to introduce [Steve] Bannon and Milo [Yiannopoulos] to the stage, but had to cancel because of the numerous death threats against my life and that of my family. Now, the event has been cancelled for similar reasons,” wrote musician Joy Villa in a column for Fox News about the scrapped Berkeley Free Speech week.

Related: NFL Player Who Stood for National Anthem ‘Explains’

Apparently, intimidating people into staying silent through aggression and the death threats received by fellow artists are not enough to set liberal celebrities afire on social media — yet kneeling for the national anthem is.

Artists should absolutely stand up for free speech: It is this country’s freedom of speech and expression that has allowed for great and challenging work to be created by artists. But it’s frustrating to see many modern-day celebrities picking and choosing the speech they want to stand behind.

Kneeling during the national anthem? A-OK. Speakers with opposing views restricted from expressing themselves and threatened with violence? Crickets.

(photo credit, homepage image: Kallerna/marco annunziata, Wikimedia; photo credit, article image: Shawn Ahmed/Lugnuts, Flickr/Wikimedia)

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PopZette editor Zachary Leeman can be reached at [email protected].