Saturday, March 11, 2017

Hollywood's Conservative Minority Faces Backlash in the Age of Trump

Punch back twice as hard, Hollywood conservatives!

At LAT, "In liberal Hollywood, a conservative minority faces backlash in the age of Trump":
As an Academy Award-winning producer and a political conservative, Gerald Molen has worked in the entertainment business long enough to remember when being openly Republican in Hollywood was no big deal.

“In the ’90s, it was never really an issue that I had to hide. I was always forthright,” recalled the producer, whose credits include “Schindler’s List” and two “Jurassic Park” movies. “It used to be we could have a conversation with two opposing points of view and it would be amiable. At the end, we still walked away and had lunch together.”

Those days are largely gone, he said. “The acrimony — it’s there. It’s front and center.”

For the vast majority of conservatives who work in entertainment, going to set or the office each day has become a game of avoidance and secrecy. The political closet is now a necessity for many in an industry that is among the most liberal in the country.

Since the presidential election, some conservatives feel that their political beliefs are more of a career liability than ever — even for those traditional Republicans disenchanted by President Trump.

“I feel absolutely it has harmed me professionally,” said Andrew Klavan, the L.A.-based screenwriter and novelist, and a “reluctant” Trump supporter. His credits include the 1990 Michael Caine dark comedy “A Shock to the System” and the novel “True Crime,” which was made into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood.

Klavan said that producers have “called my agent asking, ‘Why would you represent this guy?’ Anything that lowers your odds is going to hurt.”

While no official tally exists, conservatives in the local entertainment industry estimate their numbers could be as high as a few thousand. That’s a small fraction of the nearly 240,000 entertainment-related jobs in the county estimated in the most recent Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the L.A. Region.

Friends of Abe — the industry’s largest conservative organization — alone counts about 2,500 people on its roster, having started a decade ago with just a handful of individuals led by actor Gary Sinise.

The organization, which keeps the identities of its members secret, holds monthly social events as well as lunches for new members. A new member can only join through a recommendation by an existing member. The group doesn’t endorse candidates, but does hold speaking events with past guests including Trump, Ted Cruz and Glenn Beck.

Hollywood conservatives are themselves a divided group when it comes to Trump, whose brash style and controversial policies on trade and immigration have alienated many Republicans.

Leaders of Friends of Abe said its members have sharply divergent views on the current president...
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