Christian Toto, Columnists, Exclusives, National, Uncategorized

Toto: Unhinged celebrity rhetoric stirs a toxic cultural brew

Celebrities can’t stop talking about fascism in the Age of Trump.

Actors like Barbra Streisand, Alec Baldwin and John Cusack recently attacked President Donald Trump for fascist-like behavior. Baldwin bloviated that the president may use military force to keep himself installed in the White House should he lose in November.

Cusack echoed that sentiment, Tweeting, “trumps only hope to illegally hold power – massive escalation of fasiscm [sic].”

Pure, unhinged rhetoric, but that’s hardly new. Stars have compared the president to Hitler ever since he settled in at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW three-plus years ago.

The president’s first, and possibly final term is nearing an end, and we’ve yet to see any Hitler-like antics from the unconventional leader.

Rabid conspiracy theories aren’t the worst problem flowing from La La Land these days. The industry’s collective reaction to the pandemic, the death of George Floyd and Cancel Culture on steroids has proven toxic and troubling.

If they made an honest movie about this era, Hollywood may play the heavy in its own film. Sound harsh? Consider the following examples of extreme celebrity behavior.

Artists opened up their homes (for streaming concerts), their wallets and their hearts in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. That didn’t last, though. Stars soon turned on everyday Americans who protested for the right to earn a living again.

Stars painted them as monsters who would kill Grandma … and maybe everyone else – all from the comfort of their opulent homes, of course. Among those sounding that cruel note were Pink, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and comic Patton Oswalt.

These same celebrity critics stood down, though, when protesters took to the streets to rage against the death of black Minnesota resident George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer.

They cheered on those not so socially distanced throngs, which grew in ferocity until whole segments of American cities got trashed. Stars like Cusack, Michael Moore, Trevor Noah and Ice Cube praised or excused away the violence. Others, including Seth Rogen, Jameela Jamil, Don Cheadle and Steve Carell, wrote checks to bail out the likely violent protesters locked up during the melee.

The same stars couldn’t spare a penny for the businesses, often minority owned, destroyed by the “protestors.”

Cancel Culture, a toxic strain of progressive groupthink that appeared to be waning, grew stronger following Floyd’s death. Soon, being a conservative college student put your university acceptance at risk.

It wasn’t an isolated blast of fascism.

Saying President Trump is the president? So long, employment.

Questioning the narrative that the U.S. is a deeply racist country? The students who threaten you won’t face a lick of trouble.

A Latino businessman, whose company helps feed countless people above and beyond its famous bean sales, nearly got canceled by Leftists including Chrissy Tiegen.

A museum curator’s vow not to completely cancel white artists forced his resignation.

A sports announcer sharing the simple phrase, All Lives Matter found himself on the unemployment line.

George Orwell wrote the book on this kind of behavior in 1949.

It’s a small but growing list of fascist-like tactics tied to Cancel Culture. Did anyone from Hollywood stand up to these bullies? A microscopically small group of conservative stars, like Nick Searcy and Dean Cain, did. Otherwise? Crickets.

Stars are often too busy trying to pre-emptively cancel themselves.

And then there’s China.

Hollywood has been utterly silent when it comes to criticizing the Communist country. The same crowd that swears President Trump is a despot based on debunked headlines can’t muster an ounce of outrage over China’s human rights abuses.

The latest, perhaps most ghastly example? Video showing blindfolded Uighur Muslims being shuffled into trains. The context is jaw dropping.

U.N. experts have said at least one million Uighurs and other Muslims are being held in detention centers in Xinjiang, according to Reuters. China, which initially denied the existence of the camps, labels them as training centers aimed to root out terrorism and extremism, as well as provide people with new skills. Those held are allegedly subjected to forced labor, forced abortion, sterilization, and other abuses.

That doesn’t mention Chinese organ harvesting, with supplies reportedly coming from Falun Gong practitioners against their will.

Horror movies like “Hostel” pale by comparison.

Actors simultaneously ignore the role China played in spreading the current virus, covering up its origins and sharing misinformation that caused untold deaths. Yet they can’t stop calling President Trump a murderer for what they say he hasn’t done well enough regarding the pandemic.

Meanwhile, late night shows roll out the red carpet for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose monstrous reign of error left thousands of nursing home patients dead.

The stars of yesterday made movies, sang songs and, all the while, avoided politics. Today’s stars are different, and they have every right to speak out, to write big checks and be a part of our big, messy system.

Andrew Breitbart rightly said, “more voices, not less.”

That also means we have the right to examine their impact on the culture at large … and recoil as necessary.

Christian Toto is the editor of the Colorado-based HollywoodInToto.com.

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