Is it appropriate for celebrities to get political at award shows?
via Hollywood Foreign Press

Is it appropriate for celebrities to get political at award shows?

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Awards season has officially kicked off in Los Angeles, and we already have our first Hollywood controversy. Meryl Streep gave an emotional acceptance speech that skewered "Trumpism," and the President-elect hit back hard on Twitter. Supporters say celebrities are entitled to speak their mind and should be able to use the bully pulpit, same as Trump—and should not be silenced. Critics say entertainers are there to entertain, not to lecture half the country on politics. What do you think?

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Meryl Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes and delivered an impassioned rebuttal to President-elect Donald Trump without once mentioning his name. While Streep delighted the attendees, both Trump and his supporters took to social media to strike back. You can read the full speech here.

Political speeches are nothing new for awards shows, and it's something Americans bicker about almost every year. Is it appropriate for entertainers to make political remarks at a show about art? The nation appears to be pretty divided on the answer.

Celebrities being political is nothing new. Hollywood is often lampooned as some kind of liberal utopia. But one of the major gripes from conservatives is that celebrities as so detached from real-life that when they lecture average Americans, it comes off as condescending and insulting. That's something actor Mark Wahlberg agrees with:

“They’re pretty out of touch with the common person, the everyday guy out there providing for their family."

Stay in your lane, Hollywood.


Others argue that all art is political (even Kanye, kind of). Celebrities have the right to seize the bully pulpit, similar to how Trump operates on Twitter, and express their own thoughts and opinions—that's the beauty of America. Great art should make you think, why not artists too?

The only thing most people will remember about this Golden Globes is Streep’s speech, and, maybe, all the other ones it went on to inspire.

Also, it's pretty hard to criticize celebrities for being political when the nation just voted the host of "Celebrity Apprentice" for president.


At the end of the day, many Americans believe entertainers are there to entertain. That is their job. Not to lecture or misuse power to engage in partisan behavior. 

Award shows, which commemorate the kind of movies all Americans love, are not the time nor the place to make a political statement. The nation made its decision—celebrities are mad at the wrong people. Get mad at Democrats, they lost the election.

It’s your job to look pretty and entertain me. Literally.
As a fan I find it increasingly difficult to buy tickets to your movies and watch your shows when you are so blatant about your disdain for my point of view and condescension about my intelligence. You don’t know more than I do. You don’t know more than my neighbor does. You aren’t smarter than us. You’re just richer. And if we’re to believe what you’re telling us about Trump, money makes you stupid.
Please stop being stupid and get back to entertaining us. It’s all you’re there for. If you want your job to mean more, quit and find a new line of work in the real world. Otherwise, shut up and act.

That is ridiculous. Award shows have been political for decades, and people only get upset when the anger is directed toward their sacred cows. Hollywood stars have even channeled political frustration toward their own industry:

In 1973, Marlon Brando sent a Native American activist, Sacheen Littlefeather, to refuse the best actor award on his behalf, as a protest of the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry. The moment was met with some boos from the audience and some tepid applause.

Events like the Oscars provide a rare opportunity for artists to reach millions of viewers; it's the kind of moment that freedom of speech was built for. If you have a problem with actors, musicians and artists getting political... just shut the TV off. Nobody is forcing you to watch.

Here's how Tylters felt about Meryl Streep's speech.

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