Hypocritical Or Just Responsible And Competent? Hollywood’s LGBTQ Problem

 

Before it went down the tubes, the leftist commentary website ThinkProgress posted a typical piece (that is, so crippled by bias and a progressive agenda that it was useless as advocacy unless the reader already agreed with it) bemoaning the fate of LGBTQ performers in Hollywood like Kristen Stewart. Stewart, once a rising young star with the “Twilight” Saga films, now approaching 30 without a clear career path.

You’ll get the article’s point of view from the kick-off:

“In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK, actor Kristen Stewart, who has been romantically linked to model Stella Maxwell since 2017, said, “I have fully been told, ‘If you just like do yourself a favor, and don’t go out holding your girlfriend’s hand in public, you might get a Marvel movie.’ I don’t want to work with people like that.” Stewart has said publicly she does not identify as bisexual or lesbian, and doesn’t want to choose a label for her sexuality. In the same interview she added, “I was informed by an old school mentality, which is — you want to preserve your career and your success and your productivity, and there are people in the world who don’t like you, and they don’t like that you date girls, and they don’t like that you don’t identify as a quote unquote ‘lesbian’, but you also don’t identify as a quote unquote ‘heterosexual’. And people like to know stuff, so what the fuck are you?’”

Although it may, at times, appear as though LGBTQ representation and participation in Hollywood has achieved some semblance of parity, Stewart’s experience is far from unique. Several young, openly LGBTQ actors such as Ellen Page and Ezra Miller have talked about how their gender and sexuality have affected how people talk to them about their careers.”

Well, of course it does. When people deliberately and courageously (or stupidly) ignore basic realities of the business they are in, they should expect the predictable results. They also have nobody to blame but themselves.  Hollywood, and show business in general, is about escapism, suspension of disbelief, and illusion. Even though the acting profession has always been dominated by gay and bi-sexual performers, the entertainment business has understood the reality of the art-audience relationship.

Any personal aspects of an actor’s life that might intrude on  audience members’ consciousness sufficiently to interfere with their ability or willingness to accept that performer in the role they were playing are handicaps, and thus undesirable and to be avoided at all costs.  Such handicaps jeopardize box office receipts and profits, and this means that no matter how nice it would be to encourage all of those gay stars to emerge fabulously out of their closets, the consequences of doing so would be catastrophic and irreparable.

Cary Grant, Paul Newman, Randolph Scott, Rudolf Valentino, James Dean, Steve McQueen, Spencer Tracy, Robert Taylor, Walter Pigeon, Montgomery Clift and many other actors who routinely played heterosexual heroes were bi-sexual, gay or (in Clift’s case) asexual, but producers and directors didn’t need those images going though moviegoers’ heads. Romantic lead actresses like Katherine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford and even Marilyn Monroe also had letters in the LGBTQ array. Nobody in Hollywood cared, unless the secrets got out and the reality created one more hurdle to the audience’s acceptance of them in their roles.

It has always been thus, and the reason is purely practical. Nor is sexual orientation the only aspect of a star’s personal life that a prudent performing professional needs to keep under wraps as a matter of survival and common sense. Alec Baldwin, for example, is a fine actor, but he spends most of his time now hosting game shows and playing President Trump in repetitious Saturday Night Live skits. This is because he is an asshole, to be blunt, and has failed to hide it. There are plenty of assholes in Hollywood, maybe even a working majority, but most are smart enough to understand how the cognitive dissonance scale works. If an actor or actress is dislikable,  then it will be harder for a moviegoer to enjoy the film that actor or actress is in.  This isn’t rocket science; it’s how human beings think. Mel Gibson killed his career the same way. Sean Young.

Once again I will reference my late friend Bob McElwaine, a renowned Golden Age Hollywood publicist who spent a substantial portion of his professional life making sure the public never knew what a mean, bitter, angry and hateful man Danny Kaye was. Kaye also didn’t like children very much. Bob got Danny the job of being the public face of UNICEF.

Back to Stewart and others: proclaiming one’s sexual preferences and proclivities in public may be a courageous choice, but its an ignorant one if the actor or actress doesn’t think such information won’t limit their career options going forward. The fact that it will doesn’t mean the Hollywood community, which is substantially gay as well as progressive, is hypocritical. It means that business comes first when you are running a business. Such calculations are responsible, and thus ethical. Nobody in Hollywood will hold it against an actor if he or she is gay—the stories of how kind and compassionate the industry has been to openly (in the industry, that is) gay performers like Raymond Burr are legion—but they will hold it against you if audiences won’t accept you in a role and your film bombs….as they should.

As in every other profession and occupation, it is an actor’s ethical responsibility to make certain his or her personal conduct doesn’t undermine their value to their employers. This principle isn’t new, it isn’t going to change, and it shouldn’t change.  Kristen Stewart’s whining and ThinkProgress’s misplaced finger-pointing displays willful ignorance and ethics confusion.

23 thoughts on “Hypocritical Or Just Responsible And Competent? Hollywood’s LGBTQ Problem

  1. I have a hard time believing Kristen Stewart is being denied roles because of her sexuality, because she essentially has the range of a dead arthropod.

    • Someone likeable, someone audiences empathize with. But when an actor publicizes their own life choices more than their projects, all their projects suffer. There’s always been a bit of that with the biggest, bankable stars like Liz Taylor. But these nu-stars are not as bankable as their echo chamber is telling them. Vincent Price played villains, but it would have been neat to meet him. Brie Larsen thinks she’s bankable feminist groundbreaker, but I’d far more want to meet Nicholas Cage or Samuel Jackson to ask about MCU stuff.

  2. In the case of the Daryl Morey/Steve Kerr problems of the last week, do you have the same argument–that they work for an organization that doesn’t want them to speak ill of China and China’s policies for obvious monetary objectives? Therefore, they should not speak out? I might agree with you at some level and place the burden of protest on the fans. I’m conflicted here since the NBA is basically allowing China to use our sports heroes as propagandists. I would feel a lot better if the Moreys and Kerrs of the league simply said that under their employment contracts they aren’t allowed to threaten the league’s economic interests and criticizing China falls under this condition.

    • Know your organization. I am quite sure they had no idea that the NBA would react this way, or if they did, then it was civil disobedience. There is nothing wrong with a business that trades in human emotions behaving consistently with how humans think and feel—thus Hollywood has no duty to push LGTBQ performers into roles where they will fail. However, all American businesses, like all citizens, have a duty to uphold core American values. You can have business relations with despots who kill, enslave, and oppress, but when it comes to approving of killing, enslaving, and oppression, that crosses the ethics line.

  3. Back to Stewart and others: proclaiming one’s sexual preferences and proclivities in public may be a courageous choice, but its an ignorant one if the actor or actress doesn’t think such information won’t limit their career options going forward. The fact that it will doesn’t mean the Hollywood community, which is substantially gay as well as progressive, is hypocritical. It means that business comes first when you are running a business. Such calculations are responsible, and thus ethical. Nobody in Hollywood will hold it against an actor if he or she is gay—the stories of how kind and compassionate the industry has been to openly (in the industry, that is) gay performers like Raymond Burr are legion—but they will hold it against you if audiences won’t accept you in a role and your film bombs….as they should.

    The gay and progressive Hollywood cabal . . . is part of the problem of the corruption of the American social body. You have to start from the beginning, and define the basic facts. The Hollywood cabal or rulership — or simply the existence of the institution of Hollywood with its political and also intelligence connections — and its influence in infecting the American social body, this needs to be seen, understood, and finally opposed.

    Now, things have progressed to a more serious point: the infection has spread from the hidden world to the open and public world, and then into the governing world: the managerial-governing world. And so the term Globo-Homo has its meaning: the selling & the purveying, to children, of homosexuality and its related process of perverted sexuality. It is established as a ‘proper identification’, and then it is sold as such. All this connects to complex social engineering and these behaviors and choices are largely unpopular — they are generally resisted by the population which is more often than not socially conservative. But in order to pervert the people, and this is really what it comes down to, it requires an ‘elite’ cabal — a Hollywood — with connections to cultural management, intelligence activities and governance — to establish a Globo-Homo Culture and to transmit it to the world.

    These processes are, generally speaking, destructive to established and necessary cultural values and certainly to the family. Not to say that all gay people would not understand the need to strengthen and preserve the family (the traditional family of course — the one that produces children) but homosexual excesses and the mechanics of homosexual love have an overall perverting effect. Homosexual sex is free of consequences, free of results in the sense of ‘issue’: and thus it inclines, on the whole, to deviancy. This deviancy becomes a ‘social value’ and it is transmitted, whether wanted or not, to the youth. And when the youth are corrupted, the society begins a slow descent. The corruption of woman as the ‘pillar’ of the social structure is one facet: pervert your women and your culture will fall to pieces very quickly. And as everyone knows ‘gay culture’ tends to introduce women to strange possibilities. This has been documented. And the ‘conservative women’ who — once — stood up against homosexual excess of course were on the receiving end of gay hate and contempt. And this certainly filtered into Hollywood productions.

    [Along this line the film American Beauty is a study in perverse cultural processes and shows the temporal period when it took hold. The only two normal and adjusted people in that film were ‘Adam & Steve’. This is subtle, but it is sick. Once it is seen, it is then understood, and resisted. But not until it is seen.]

    These filmic and entertainment processes are complex and multi-leveled, and through study of them — a resistance-minded media-studies — one sees these perverse processes that are part of the causal chain of America’s ugly and destructive decline, and thence its ugly and destructive effect on world culture. And ‘Hollywood’ is right at the center of it.

    There will come a day when you pay the price. Oh, well, in fact you are paying the price right now! Your culture and everything that has been created, painstakingly, is now threatened, and this is part of a larger process that is literally, not figuratively, threatening European culture. And yet no one of you sees or understands the causes.

    Amazing!

    (Excuse my bold, glossary statement but that is who I am — irreverent and mouthy — and communicating my understanding is my purpose: nothing personal is meant).

  4. I have always wondered why the public has a facination with celebraties of any type.

    Are we so vacuous that our lives are measured in terms of how close we believe ourselves to be to such celebraties through our knowledge of their favorite foods, sex preferences, or where they ate dinner last night and with whom?

    I see Jack’s point however. I don’t think I would view Sean Connery as the suave playboy spy had he been known to be Liberace’s partner.

    Private lives should be just that, private. Why should entertainers not be afforded the same privacy as we would demand for ourselves. If they want to expose themselves for publicity purposes go ahead but they cannot get their panties in a wad if the publicity goes awry.

    • Very true. I really don’t care and don’t think it’s my business to know about their personal lives, no more than a couple paragraphs like age, education, birthplace, current project, and if might be single. I really do not care beyond that, they deserve some privacy. (I would hate living in a paparazzi goldfish bowl)

  5. It used to be Hollywood stars were known for good things like selling war bonds, establishing and building hospitals, or having an appreciation for their fans. Now it is hard to think of a single star that isn’t so wrapped up in themselves that they would not know altruism if it jumped up and bit them. I think the difference was the studio system that crafted actor’s images to protect their investments and make money. Many of today’s stars would benefit greatly from the studio system’s structure. Clearly, many of these stars need someone or something to protect them from themselves.

    • ..hard to think of a single star that isn’t so wrapped up in themselves that they would not know altruism if it jumped up and bit them.

      Gary Sinise comes to mind. So does Vince Vaughn .

      Yet I fear you are right by a twenty to one margin.

  6. Unfortunately, it’s gotten to the point where celebrities’ sexuality and views on this or that have become more important, at lest to the media and to Hollywood, than their work. Hollywood has always been liberal, or at least it’s been liberal since after WW2. However, the powers that be in Hollywood once grasped the idea that they had to appeal to all of American society, not just those who agreed with them, i.e. “will it play in Peoria?” Sometimes that meant that actors had to keep up a façade that wasn’t necessarily true, but that the general public would be ok with.

    Hollywood has now reached the point where it does not want to appeal to those rubes in flyover country. It wants, like a lot of the left, to blot the non-liberal parts of this country out, ostracize them, and eventually eliminate them. It isn’t at all interested in what they have to say, because what could a bunch of righties with bad teeth whose idea of fun is bowling night after spending a day baling hay have to tell sophisticated folks like them, who make more money in a year than most of those folks will in a lifetime?

    So they shove their sexualities in everyone’s face, and push the LGBTQ to the front, to the point where no one can ignore it, even if they want to. So they shut off their filters and say whatever they think whenever they think it. That’s why folks like Alec Baldwin, who’s made being an asshole into a lifestyle, Robert DeNiro, who can’t stop hating on the president for even a moment, and transgressive bigmouths like Sarah Silverman get all the press now.

    The top folks in Hollywood don’t care about money. They already have more money than most working people will ever even get to look at. They care about being invited to all the right cocktail parties and keeping their names in the headlines. If it means that they must spout the progressive line, then they do it. I don’t think I’ve been to a movie this entire year. I think I might go this holiday season to see some of the emerging historical films (I think the one about Midway is due out soon), and I’ll probably go to see the last installment in this final Star Wars trilogy just to tie everything off. I was there when the whole thing began, I might as well be there when it ends, although I do not like this last trilogy much due to less than wonderful writing, attempts to be politically correct, and a massacre of the characters from the original trilogy. I don’t think it matters, I’m only one person. Most folks will still go, just like the folks behind the iron curtain watched the propaganda channels fully knowing it was propaganda, because it was the only game in town.

    • “,,,because what could a bunch of righties with bad teeth whose idea of fun is bowling night after spending a day baling hay have to tell sophisticated folks like them…”

      How about “How would you like a life without bread, beef, corn or cotton?”

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