Conservative routinely drub Hollywood, Inc. and for some very good reasons.
Can you say Climate Change hypocrisy?
Still, that doesn’t mean the industry lacks a compassionate side, something we see in the very worst of times.
Think of previous hurricanes and other natural disasters. Stars have written some very big checks to ease the suffering caused by Mother Nature. After 9/11, stars rallied on stages, screens, and via a high-profile telethon to support grieving families and First Responders alike.
So, how will celebrities respond to COVID-19, currently cancelling much of what we’ve come to appreciate about our 21st century lives? So far, it’s a mixed report card. The mood certainly isn’t as positive, or bipartisan, as Hollywood’s 9/11 reactions.
The scourge of Orange Man Bad remains partially to blame, to the industry’s shame.
Let’s start with the best Hollywood reactions, including the most prominent name afflicted with the virus.
Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks and his bride, Rita Wilson, shared their positive diagnosis last week. Since then, they’ve used social media to brief us on their continuing good health and even better humor.
“There’s no crying in baseball,” Hanks shared, citing one of his many famous film lines. Hanks and Wilson are doing no small measure with their good cheer. They’re letting people know the virus isn’t a death sentence, and hope is very much part of our future.
Actor Idris Elba struck a similar note when he shared his positive diagnosis.
The “Luther” star also squashed an insipid rumor in the process: “Stop sending out these stupid WhatsApp messages about black people not getting it. That’s ridiculous. You’re making us all look stupid. Just know you have to be as vigilant as every other race. This disease does not discriminate.”
John Legend and Chris Martin brought their music into our quarantined homes through the wonders of streaming media. No long lines, no cheap seats. Good for them. Other artists quickly followed their lead.
“Music can heal, music can bring us together,” Legend said during his online concert.
Matthew McConaughey leaned, hard, on his “all right, all right, all right” persona to share positive vibes via Twitter.
“In these crazy times that we’re in with the coronavirus, let’s take care of ourselves and each other,” McConaughey starts off. “Let’s not go to the lowest common denominator and get paranoid. Let’s do our due diligence and take the precautions we need to to take care of ourselves and those of us around us, right now more than ever.”
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively took a more direct approach. They cut a $1 million check for two food banks to help those who are suffering from the rampant closures happening across the nation, not to mention supermarkets greeting customers with bare shelves.
Leave it to legendary funny man Mel Brooks to make us smile and share solid advice in under five minutes.
Brooks teamed with his son, “World War Z” author Max Brooks, for a funny video urging everyone to embrace social distancing. The accompanying hashtag, #DontBeASpreader, hammered home the point with love and humor.
More kind thoughts and charity will likely follow, yet not everyone in La La Land is focused on healing during these difficult times.
Let’s start with director Rob Reiner, a man with the highest level of Trump Derangement Syndrome possible. Reiner raged that Trump must step down, now, because he said so.
“We will get through this. But unfortunately not with the help of this President,” Reiner wrote. “First he must be removed from the public square to let competent experts take over, then he must be removed from office to allow US to heal.”
Debra Messing, who famously vowed not to work with Trump supporters in Hollywood, used the virus as another way to blast the president.
“LIAR-IN-CHIEF,” Messing began her tweet. “#Maga have been unmoved by the 16500 lies 45 has made since elected. Now that innumerable people (including MAGA) will die, because of his lies and inaction, I wonder if MAGA will recognize that 45 must be voted out?”
Several stars, like George Takei, used the virus’ proper verbiage (the Wuhan Flu, the Chinese Virus) as a cudgel to strike Trump. Never mind that many media outlets used the same verbiage for days and days without a peep of protest.
Perhaps the ugliest celebrity missive came from Rosanna Arquette. The veteran actress initially shared a conspiracy theory attacking Israel, not China, as the possible source of the virus.
Arquette, who is Jewish, later apologized for the tweet.
We likely won’t get a mea culpa from Bette Midler. The Divine Miss M’s recent Tweet directly blamed the president for the virus’s devastation on U.S. soil.
Facts? She doesn’t need any facts. She’s got Twitter and, amazingly, more than 1.9 million followers.
“I AM TRYING NOT TO ADD TO THE NOISE AND CRAZINESS, BUT DONALD TRUMP IS A F***ING MADMAN,” Midler tweeted. “HE THINKS WE DON’T REMEMBER ALL THE JIVE HE SPEWED FOR TWO IMPORTANT MONTHS. One more thing. None of this would be happening if he were not President.”
So, while some stars are giving their time, creativity and cash to heal a battered country, others are doing all they can to stoke the divide for partisan political purposes.