Ricky Gervais did more than just excoriate Hollywood, Inc at the Golden Globes awards earlier this month.
His monologue made it acceptable, even hip, to mock celebrity activists from the comfort of our homes.
Taken alone, Gervais’ jabs made audiences laugh and think at the same time. The monologue also opened up the potential for more industry mockery, at a time when stars are prepping to make Donald Trump a one-term president.
And celebrities have only themselves to blame.
It started minutes after Gervais’ speech. Actor Joaquin Phoenix, who earned a Golden Globe for his masterful work in “Joker,” told the starry crowd fighting climate change might mean more sacrifice than they expected.
“It’s really nice that so many people have come up and sent their well wishes to Australia, but we have to do more than that, right? … It’s great to vote, but sometimes we have to take that responsibility on ourselves and make changes and sacrifices in our own lives and hope that we can do that. We don’t have to take private jets to Palm Springs for the awards sometimes or back, please.”
That’s not part of the climate change talking points in La La Land.
Phoenix didn’t emerge unscathed from his sudden climate change spotlight. He sheepishly admitted to taking air transportation to attend the weekly Jane Fonda Arrest-a-Thon just a few days later in the nation’s capital.
Meanwhile, social media lit up when Phoenix’s designer, Stella McCartney, bragged the star would be wearing the same tux throughout Oscar season … to battle climate change.
Even the liberal UK Guardian tweaked the actor for the bold, brave stance, declaring in its headline, “Can Joaquin Phoenix save the planet by wearing one tuxedo for the whole awards season?”
CNN piled on, questioning stars like Phoenix and Fonda, who bragged about wearing the same red coat to every climate change protest.
[The fashion world] has one of the largest carbon footprints of all industries. Fashion production, manufacturing, shipping and use is responsible for 10% of the world’s annual carbon emissions, the UN Environmental Programme found.
Normally, liberal media outlets do their best to avoid showcasing Hollywood hypocrisy. What changed?
The awards show circuit responded to GervaisGate by adopting plant-based meals to help save the planet. First, the Critics’ Choice Awards went vegetarian (even if some attendees, including this reporter, didn’t get the main course at all during the event).
The Oscars, not to be outdone, also will go vegetarian for Hollywood’s biggest night. Just ignore the event’s massive carbon footprint, from the security teams required to keep stars safe to the energy needed to get the show rolling.
Just think of how green it might be if the Oscars were announced online? After all, we’re on the brink of climate change catastrophe, or so we’re told.
Gervais’ speech hasn’t stopped stars from using award show podiums as stump speeches. Rabid Trump critic Robert De Niro defensively referenced Gervais’ jabs at the recent SAG awards speech. The “Irishman” star said actors have every right to speak out, setting up a straw man argument for the ages.
Speak out all you want, Mr. De Niro. Just know we see the hypocrisy in every other word. It helps that a robust new media, from conservative web sites to libertarian podcasts, shred it on a near-daily basis.
It’s hard to remain credible when your lifestyles don’t remotely match the rhetoric. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a bona fide socialist, has plenty of Hollywood support so far. He even attracted ‘80s star John Cusack to his campaign recently. The “Say Anything” actor, who is either a multi-millionaire or the worst money manager in modern history, slammed the rich on behalf of fellow millionaire Sanders during a recent campaign stop.
You can’t make this stuff up.
The same applies to “Star Trek” actor Simon Pegg. He signed a letter from Millionaires Against Pitchforks demanding higher taxes for the rich.
“Inequality is not inevitable, it’s a policy choice. It’s the product of governments passing policies that favour the very wealthy at the expense of the less fortunate….
“Our fractured world is repairable, we can build a more equal society where the richest contribute their fair share. Our politicians must govern in the interests of all, not just those with the deepest pockets.”
What’s stopping Pegg from giving up much of his wealth now? More importantly, if you visit Pegg on the set of the upcoming “Mission: Impossible” sequel, ask if the gaffers, grips and Best Boys in the crew make a fraction as much as he’s pulling down for his performance. Are their trailer accommodations as big as Tom Cruise’s?
If not, why not? Hollywood sets are the epitome of inequality.
This is only part of Hollywood’s credibility problem. Add their anti-Trump rhetoric, which describes a nation teetering on collapse in the Age of Trump.
The truth? A new Gallup poll found American’s satisfaction levels in key areas rising. “Average satisfaction across 27 issues is higher than when Trump took office,” according to news reports.
By the time November rolls around, Hollywood’s political rhetoric may be greeted with a shrug by voters or, even worse, one long raspberry.
Christian Toto is the editor of the Colorado-based HollywoodInToto.com.