The ethical formula is to concentrate critical evaluations on the message rather than the messenger, but celebrities using their popularity and influence to push for policies they are unqualified to evaluate and activism they are too corrupt to promote have to be in a separate category. They use their cognitive dissonance scale weight to make irresponsible positions seem reasonable to those sad and numerous members of the public who assume that being rich, beautiful and talented automatically makes one wise.
I know the temptation for these stars of both the glittering and the shooting- variety is great, but it is their duty to resist it except in the rare instances where they have more practical experience and knowledge of an issue than the average airport show-shine stand proprietor, and fully functioning ethics alarms. (Remember: Hollywood shorts out ethics alarms .)
Two prominent actresses in recent days have illustrated the principle.
1. Kate Winslet
Winslet is one of my favorite actresses, but unfortunately she’s British. The British don’t understand or support freedom of speech and expression, as anyone who watched the anti-monarchists being hauled away by police at King Charles’ coronation can attest. Accepting a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for her performance in a show about the dangers of social media, Winslet said,
To people in power and to people who can make change, please criminalize harmful content. Please eradicate harmful content. We don’t want it. We want our children back.”
Shut up, Kate.
Who is “we”? What is “harmful?” Dim bulbs like Winslet, waving the “Think of the Children!” banner, will lead us right to Big Brother’s door. If you’re worried about what your children see online, set rules for them and enforce them yourself. Better yet, teach them about what social media is and how to avoid its many perils. Monitor what they are hearing from their teachers in school, if you want them “back.” Educate yourself, and then educate them. It’s your job, not the government’s.
2. Natalie Portman
Portman is one of my least favorite actresses, dull, lacking range, and inexplicably praised by critics for, as far as I can tell, just looking beautiful—but I digress.
Portman was one of the moving forces behind Time’s Up!, the non-profit advocacy group formed in the wake of #MeToo’s rise following the exposure of movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s rape and sexual harassment hobby. Time’s Up! is dead (and #MeToo is withering) because it was exposed as hypocritical when it was revealed that its chair and co-founder Roberta Kaplan secretly took on the representation of Andrew Cuomo as he battled multiple sexual harassment accusers. The ex-New York governor was exactly the kind of powerful male that Times’ Up! was created to expose. The Hollywood Reporter asked Portman, who was a member of the organization’s board, what happened. Oh, she said, mistakes were made, and huminahumina-ed this:
I think a lot of people made mistakes, but mistakes are deadly for activism. You have to be so perfect in order to demand the change that you want to see, and I don’t know, maybe acknowledging all our imperfection as humans and saying that people can do something wrong and also be good at something else, having a little bit more shades of gray might actually let us get to more progress … For an entire movement to not be allowed to exist because of individual mistakes or even collective mistakes, I think that we have to be able to make mistakes and learn from them and allow that.
Shut up, Natalie.
But thanks for that great example of Rationalization #19. The Perfection Diversion, or “Nobody’s Perfect!” and “Everybody makes mistakes!” ! An organization that solicits millions of dollars in donations on the representation that it is a non-partisan non-profit organization that fights abuses of power and sexual harassment in the workplace while simultaneously assisting one of the highest-profile sexual harassers in decades isn’t failing to be “perfect.” It is showing itself to be dishonest, corrupt and untrustworthy on an Olympian scale.
Hollywood in Toto blogger Christian Toto neatly eviscerates Portman’s argument, writing in part,
- Ignored Tara Reade when she alleged Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993
- Ignored Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax after two women claimed he sexually assaulted them
- Ignored other charges that Biden was sexually inappropriate with multiple people
- Promoted paper-thin accusations against a conservative judge’s bid for the Supreme Court
- Actively counseled Gov. Andrew Cuomo after 10 women came forward alleging he sexually mistreated them…
[Portman] played a role in its destruction, and reporters aren’t willing to press her, or her famous chums, about it. Time’s Up is no more, and women in and out of Hollywood have one less place to turn. That falls on Portman’s shoulders, whether she’ll publicly confess to it or not.
In short, Times’ Up was a partisan organization that was only interested in holding sexual harassers who weren’t Democratic elected officials accountable for abusing women in the workplace. Portman had to know it, yet sat on the board while doing nothing to stop the “mistakes”.”” that were going on right under her lovely nose. Mistakes may be deadly for activism, but what is even more deadly is celebrity leaders who lack skills in management, leadership, organizational ethics and integrity but who hold themselves out as authorities because they won the gene pool lottery.
One thought on “Two For The “Shut Up And Act” Files”
So she’s saying that people such as Thomas Jefferson can do things that today we see as wrong, but yet be celebrated for the great and momentous things he also did. Hmmm, do you think she realizes what she is actually saying? Probably not.