Once again we confront a variation of the “Duck Dynasty” issue of entertainers losing their jobs over their expression of political, religious or other opinions that have nothing to do with their performances.
Actress María Conchita Alonso, who has been an outspoken advocate of conservative policies on occasion, was recruited by the camp of the Tea Party candidate for governor of California, Tim Donnelly, to appear in a campaign video. Donnelly is a hardliner on illegal immigration, or as supporters of open borders and stolen U.S. benefits of citizenship like to call it to blur the issues, “undocumented workers.” Following the ad’s debut, many Hispanic residents of San Francisco protested and threatened to boycott the Brava Theater Center’s production of a Spanish-language version of “The Vagina Monologues,” which was starred the actress.
Not any more. Alonso “resigned”from the cast—actually she was the cast, since “The Vagina Monologues” is a one actress show—which means she was forced to quit or be fired. “We really can’t have her in the show, unfortunately,” Eliana Lopez, the producer of the show scheduled to run at Brava, which lies in the heavily Hispanic Mission District of Frisco, told reporters. “Of course she has the right to say whatever she wants. But we’re in the middle of the Mission. Doing what she is doing is against what we believe.”
Lopez really should have shut up, as her statement was more objectionable than the firing. There is, or should be, no enforced “we believe” group conformity in America, and if a Hispanic citizen thinks that individuals who skipped the formalities required by law to get into the U.S. should be returned to their homeland to do it legally, and shouldn’t be allowed to hold jobs, get tuition, drive cars and practice law until they do, that shouldn’t make such citizens pariahs in their communities, especially since they are, you know, right. Is Lopez saying that you can’t be a Hispanic in the Mission and not be a lock-step Democrat? Sounds like Hollywood.
Disgust with this rationale is the basis of a noisy back-lash against Alonso’s firing from conservative blogs and commentators. Here’s the problem: She was foolish and unprofessional, and I would have fired her too. She is a veteran professional actress of some note, and doesn’t come cheap. Audiences don’t pay money to see one actress shows—especially lousy ones, like “The Vagina Monologues,” a one-gimmick feminist pander—if they don’t like the actress or what she stands for, and I would expect Alonso to know that. Agreeing to star in the production, knowing that her audience would be overwhelmingly Hispanic and pro-illegal immigrant and then making a high-profile ad for an anti-illegal political candidate was reckless and foolish, and bordered on sabotage. Yes, she has every right to support whatever positions and candidates she chooses, but trading on her celebrity to take a position unpopular with her likely audience while also offering that same celebrity as a selling point of the Brava Theater’s production—which is why the company paid big bucks to hire her—was irresponsible, indeed stupid. She asked to be fired. The community reaction to the ad was completely predictable.
Note that this was not the case with the recent flap over Phil Robertson’s interview in GQ. Nothing the “Duck Dynasty” scion said should have been a surprise to the show’s audience. He was momentarily and pusillanimously dumped by A&E in response to a protest from people who would never turn to that show, for fear of missing the latest nuggets of wisdom from Al Sharpton and Ed Schultz. The Brava firing, in contrast, was completely reasonable.