Hollywood has an obsession with the blacklist of the 1950s. We’ve seen endless books, documentaries, and fictionalized accounts of the lives that the blacklist affected.
To be fair, the blacklist ruined plenty of peoples’ lives, some of them needlessly. But for just as many in Hollywood, the blacklist was a temporary bump in the road of their careers.
For all its obsession with the sins of past blacklists, Hollywood apparently hasn’t learned any lessons. In the age of Trump, the drumbeat of blacklisting is pounding again.
Recently, Will & Grace co-stars Eric McCormack and Debra Messing have called for publicly listing all Trump supporters in Hollywood. Messing in particular has been vocal, asking the Hollywood Reporter to publish the names of attendees to a Trump fundraiser.
One prominent Hollywood star is pushing back at Messing and her desire to institute a new blacklist. Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg – herself no conservative – lashed out on The View against Messing and the others who desire to shame Trump supporters in Hollywood.
The Daily Beast reports:
After The View co-host Joy Behar joked during Tuesday’s season premiere that instead of a blacklist, they “should call it a white-list,” Goldberg turned serious.
“Listen, the last time people did this, people ended up killing themselves,” Goldberg said, referring to Joseph McCarthy’s Hollywood blacklist of the 1950s. “This is not a good idea, OK?” As Meghan McCain nodded in agreement, “Your idea of who you don’t want to work with is your personal business. Do not encourage people to print out lists because the next list that comes out, your name will be on and then people will be coming after you.”
“We had something called a blacklist and a lot of really good people were accused of stuff,” she continued. “Nobody cared whether it was true or not. They were accused. And they lost their right to work. You don’t have the right! In this country, people can vote for who they want to. That is one of the great rights of this country.”
Goldberg has a point. For decades, Hollywood has decried the anti-Communist blacklist of the mid-20th century, and rightly so to an extent. Shaming and denying work to hundreds of actors, technicians, and others in the industry was a terrible idea – and it certainly didn’t do anything to diminish the left wing influence on the entertainment industry.
Calling out those who don’t follow the leftist party line brings back memories of the blacklist. It’s not funny, though Joy Behar tried to make light of it – complete with racial cheap shot. These liberals in Hollywood who think they’re so fearless wouldn’t appreciate it if the shoe were on the other foot.
These calls for a new blacklist bring to mind a sort of corollary to the Golden Rule: don’t do something if you wouldn’t want it done to you. Messing and others clearly haven’t considered what might happen if her name showed up on a list like the one she wants published.
Whoopi Goldberg grew up on the movies of this age as a latchkey child who watched a lot of old movies on television to entertain herself. Her grasp of Hollywood history is keen, so if she says an idea is bad because of how it played out in Hollywood history, I would listen to her. I recommend that Debra Messing and others who want to call out and shame Trump supporters in Hollywood listen as well.