To the actors and actresses at the 89th Oscars:
Don’t turn the Academy Awards into a political circus. Be like Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga is far from a fan of President Trump, but when halftime came during the Super Bowl, she didn’t push a political agenda. Instead, she stayed silent and put on a fantastic performance.
If you have an issue with the president or one of his policies, use your right to freedom of assembly, and protest in the streets. Keep going to your rallies. Do more than that; bring your concerns to Capitol Hill. Talk to elected officials in Congress. Dream bigger even. Run for office.
Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t like how things were going in California, so he took action and won the governor’s seat. Star Trek’s George Takei ran for the Los Angeles City Council in 1973. Clint Eastwood was elected Mayor of Carmel, California, in 1986. Ronald Reagan, who acted in over 50 films and was president of the Screen Actors Guild, became the 40th President of the United States.
If you care about immigrants having a place to call home so much, take a chunk of your millions and pay for their immigration fees. Take it further. Bring a camera crew across the U.S.-Mexico Border or into a refugee camp in Iraq and make a documentary about how Hollywood actors care about immigrants, so much that they’re willing to cover the costs of them coming to America, so that they can have a better life.
If you care about women’s rights as much as you say you do, go to a place where women are in dire need of help. In Saudi Arabia, women don’t even have the right to drive a car. In Iran, your flashy gown on the red carpet would lead to an arrest. In Yemen, girls as young as eleven years of age are forced into marriages with grown men. Make a movie about that, too. There’s a ‘real war on women’ in those countries, among many others.
And please don’t talk about how you’re “vilified” like Meryl Streep did. You have millions of fans all over the world. Aspiring actors and actresses pin posters and pictures to the bedroom walls of you. People wait in line for hours just to get your autograph or take a selfie.
Do some people disagree with you? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean you’re “vilified.” That just means your viewpoint isn’t the only one out there.
So don’t make the 89th Oscars about politics. Don’t use your platform to shape the national narrative in the media for coming weeks as something that only divides our country further.
If you win an Oscar, move us by either making us laugh or making us cry, but do it with a personal story or powerful acceptance speech. Something that all Americans, no matter their politics, can applaud. Something that all Americans, whatever their politics, can look back at and say, “that was a really great show, and I hope to see more of that in the future.”