Hollywood has a gun problem. Every day it seems like there’s a different celebrity intent on chiding Americans for their gun ownership or National Rifle Association membership. We’ve seen everyone from Seth Rogen to Julianne Moore to Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino deplore the gun violence that exists in this country, as well as vow to use their platform to “make a difference.”
Oddly enough, though, that vow to be an agent of change never really extends to their own actions. When was the last time you heard a celebrity announce that they would no longer take a role that required them to use a firearm? Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein came close a few years ago when he said that he’d no longer be producing violent movies. Instead, he said he was going to work on an anti-NRA flick starring Meryl Streep. Well, that movie hasn’t started production as far as I can tell, but Weinstein’s company Miramax will be releasing Quentin Tarantino’s gun-filled Western “The Hateful Eight” just in time for Christmas this year. Maybe that “no more violent movies” pledge will actually start in 2016.
It’s weird how these celebrities think that appearing in an anti-gun ad for Everytown for Gun Safety can influence culture, but that their self-described “art,” particularly when it involves violence, cannot have any impact whatsoever. Then again, it’s also strange that so many celebrities who pay for armed security feel so comfortable telling others that they can’t, and shouldn’t, protect themselves. I don’t even try to keep up with Kim Kardashian, but I do know she’s tweeted out her support for new gun control laws, all while being protected by her burly bodyguard Pascal. Comedian Amy Schumer took aim at Americans who own guns on her recent “Saturday Night Live” appearance, but as Stephen Miller pointed out on Twitter, the studios at 30 Rock are protected by armed guards as well.
It may sound weird, but I don’t think the entertainment/media establishment is actually anti-gun. Instead, I think they’re anti-Second Amendment. I think they’re opposed to the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but they’re not really opposed to arms themselves. Guns are great to protect them, after all. And guns are great props in an action movie. In fact, the bigger the body count, the better. It’s not like anybody would think that violence has meaning. It’s just harmless escapism … except when the movie is explicitly anti-gun. Then, of course, we’re talking some serious artistic expression.
Finally, celebrities are turning a blind eye to the glorification of the “get rich or die trying” mentality that leads to so much violence in our nation’s cities. Rapper Widner “Flow” Degruy managed to escape trial on attempted murder charges in 2013 when a witness refused to testify, but he’s currently charged with two counts of murder in Louisiana for a double killing in May of this year. He’s also still on the roster of Young Money Entertainment, the company founded by Lil Wayne (himself a convicted felon). I’ve not seen any of Young Money’s other stars like Drake or Nicki Minaj speak out about sharing a roster with an accused murderer. But Drake did team up with Snoop Lio-uh, Dogg (or whatever animal he is this week) for the anti-gun song “No Guns Allowed” a couple of years ago, so clearly he’s committed to doing whatever it takes to create a more peaceful society. Yeah, right.
Here’s a dirty little secret that celebrities need to understand. First off, Americans are not completely unwilling to listen to thoughtful celebrities expound on political or philosophical matters. But Americans don’t automatically grant celebrities credibility as serious thinkers. In fact, the default position is that we consider them more like our court jesters. They are here for our amusement and entertainment, not to enlighten us with the wisdom acquired on a movie set.
Again, there are plenty of celebrities over the years who’ve proven they have real substance to them. But when it comes to the celebrities supporting gun control today, it’s clear that there’s a lot of hypocrisy in the Hollywood hills.