by John Hawkins | March 4, 2003 11:59 pm
McCarthyism? No, It’s Voting With Your Wallet: The Screen Actors Guild is so upset about the lousy press & hate mail that the anti-war celebrities are getting, that SAG has actually raised the spectre of McCarthyism. Here’s what SAG has to say…
“The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) said a slew of hate-mail directed at actors who have taken a public personal stand against war, along with calls for boycotts of movies and albums on the nation’s talk radio airwaves and Internet message boards, “suggests that the lessons of history have, for some, fallen on deaf ears.”
“We deplore the idea that those in the public eye should suffer professionally for having the courage to give voice to their views. Even a hint of the blacklist must never again be tolerated in this nation,” SAG, the nation’s largest actors’ union, said in a statement.
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…SAG said suggestions that “well-known individuals who express ‘unacceptable’ views should be punished by losing their right to work” was a “shocking development” which recalled the 1950s House Committee on Un-American Activities under Senator Joseph McCarthy.
…SAG called it a “shameful period” for the entertainment industry, saying the industry today had a duty to guard and cherish U.S. constitutional principles of free speech rather than “prostrate itself before smear campaigns and witch hunters” as it had 50 years ago.”
To begin with, there isn’t going to be another blacklist of celebrities that keeps them from working and I don’t expect see any US Senators waving around any secret lists. What is happening is that people who don’t like the anti-war and/or unpatriotic views of certain celebrities are refusing to support them. Furthermore, they’re encouraging other people to do the same and you know what? That’s a good thing — it’s the 1st Amendment in action. If Sean Penn wants to go to Iraq to do free PR for Saddam, so be it. Furthermore, if Chrissie Hynde  wants to root against her own country in the upcoming war with Iraq (“Bring it on! Give us what we deserve!”), that is her own choice to make, however unamerican it may be. That being said, don’t expect millions of people who are sickened by their actions to pay their hard earned cash support people like this.
The same goes for Mike Farrell, Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon, Edward Norton, Danny Glover, Alec Baldwin, Janeane Garofalo, Woody Harrelson, Barbra Streisand, etc. If that hits them in the pocketbooks or costs them some roles they would have otherwise gotten — well that’s a price these people should pay for advocating actions that would in all likelihood ultimately lead to the unnecessary deaths of millions of Americans in terrorist attacks. They may have a right to their opinions, but so does the American public. And choosing not only to speak out against these people, but to deny them any of our money is something I strongly support.
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