Hollywood Stars Who Tried to Go Woke… But It Cost Them

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 16: Actress Emma Watson attends 'The Bling Ring' premiere during The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Hollywood stars are running scared from the woke police.

Sure, a few are true believers, eager to incorporate their woke worldview into every project that comes their way.

Others are clearly woke out of pure fear. They realize if they don’t virtue signal the right way they could find themselves the latest scalp on the Social Justice Warrior’s wall.

A recent Hollywood Reporter story suggested as much. The far-left publication found a PR executive who shared why so many stars jump on the latest woke talking point.

“I have clients who are making an extraordinary effort to post what the social left wants to see.”

That’s what some of the following stars tried to do. Others simply believed they were living out their best woke life, only to realizes you can never be woke enough. These stars found that out the hard way.

Lena Dunham

The star and co-creator of HBO’s “Girls” is considered by some the ultimate woke actress. She’s progressive to the core, promotes fat positive imagery and uses all of her social media outlets to share her liberal world view.

So it seemed like a natural brand extension to create a new, affordable line of clothing geared to plus-sized women.

Or so she thought.

Dunham’s clothing line stops at size 26, while other plus-sized collections go to size 40. That was just the first problem critics cited while excoriating her capitalistic venture.

Take this piece from NBC, for example:

Studies show that plus-size people consistently earn less money than their straight-size counterparts. Because of this, plus-size consumers are, generally speaking, more mindful about where they choose to spend their money. This collection’s prices range from $98 to $298, which may be affordable to some but will make the clothing largely inaccessible to many. (Obviously plenty of fashion is inaccessible, especially in the luxury market, but it’s still important to remember the way structural inequality impacts fashion consumers.)

That NBC roasting was far from the only one the actress/entrepreneur received. HuffPo and The Daily Beast also pounced.

Dunham could have just made yet another fashion line for waif-like models and gotten less blowback.

Emma Watson

The Harry Potter alum saw how her fellow stars reacted to the rise of Black Lives Matter and she had one response.

Me, too!

So she loaded up her massive Instagram account with hashtags and imagery tied to BLM, including three black squares.

And that’s where the trouble began.

Emma’s post has caused a stir on social media and although many supported the star, some followers accused her of not ‘spreading information’ and simply using the squares for her ‘aesthetic.’

Others fumed that Emma had put a white border around the black squares to match some of her earlier posts.

Watson responded as if she had single-handedly set back race relations a half century. Here’s just a snippet from her extended, hostage-like apology.

“I’m still learning about the many ways I unconsciously support and uphold a system that is structurally racist,” she wrote, adding that she would share links to resources she’s used for research on the issues in her bio link and on Twitter.

“I see your anger, sadness and pain. I cannot know what this feels like for you but it doesn’t mean I won’t try to,” she added.

Mark Wahlberg

The former Funky Bunch ringleader did what many stars attempted following the death of George Floyd in 2020. He whipped up a quick social media message that should have made Team Black Lives Matter happy.

“The murder of George Floyd is heartbreaking. We must all work together to fix this problem,” he wrote. “I’m praying for all of us. God bless.”

Simple. Sincere. A dash of woke.

Except the virtue signal caused some to resurrect parts of Wahlberg’s unfortunate past — most notably his participation in three racially-charged attacks when he was a teenager.

The incidents found him on the wrong side of the law, and he’s repeatedly apologized for actions committed before his 18th birthday. He’s known today as a talented and compassionate actor, a father and husband who radiates positivity on and off screen.

He’s clearly evolved since those hateful incidents.

Tell that to the woke mob, which tried to cancel Wahlberg once his past “resurfaced.”

The veteran actor took the best path forward, though. He ignored the cancellation attempts completely. A few days later, the woke mob moved on to other targets. Still, he came close to losing some of his fame and fortune for simply trying to share a hopeful message in troubled times.

The ‘I Take Responsibility’ Cast

Sometimes it helps to have company while virtue signaling.

In the wake of the George Floyd riots, a gaggle of white stars assembled, virtually, to shoot a video apologizing for their actions. Or lack of action. Or skin color. Or … something.

The video gave us the cringiest moment of 2020, watching “Breaking Bad’s” Aaron Paul, Kristen Bell, Piper Perabo, Stanley Tucci and others say “they take responsibility” for being an accomplice to white privilege.

Vulture took one long, meaty swipe at the video.

You know they’re serious because the video is in black and white. You know they’re serious because it’s a montage. You know they’re serious because they pointedly repeat phrases like “I take responsibility” and “I stand against hate.” Aaron Paul steeples his fingers and gets real close to the camera. When Sarah Paulson says “I will not turn a blind eye,” you know she means it, because she’s wearing those big chunky glasses. 

The New Yorker attacked, too, albeit in a less snarky fashion.

Hollywood is perhaps one of the last places to look for inspiration—practical, emotional, or otherwise—in times of crisis. 

What these examples show is not that every single celebrity has to commit to leading the revolution, but what can happen if these platforms were treated less like public-relations buildouts and more like the powerful communication channels and resource vectors that they are. 

Elizabeth Banks

The underrated actress took a turn behind the camera with 2015’s “Pitch Perfect 2,” proving her comic chops translated seamlessly to the director’s chair.

She got a much bigger assignment when Columbia Pictures tasked her with reviving the “Charlie’s Angels” franchise. Banks wrote and directed the third film in the series, but she clearly had Hollywood’s woke revolution in mind.

The very first line of the movie found co-star Kristen Stewart saying, “I believe women can do anything…”

On. The. Nose.

The rest of the film eschewed the franchise’s sexy costumes and frothy tone for a more sober, grrrl power adventure.

And it flopped. Big time.

Banks tried. She really did. Going woke with a beloved franchise, one where fans expected fun, not stern empowerment lessons, were in for a rude awakening. And they stayed far, far away.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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