“In an astonishing reversal of Hollywood history, just as liberals here once considered themselves an endangered species, so do conservatives today,” wrote Stephen Galloway for his piece in The Hollywood Reporter on the rise of a new McCarthyism in Tinsel Town.
Just like President Truman’s executive order which tested the loyalty of American citizens 70 years ago during the Second Red Scare and the rise of communism among liberals, “Now Hollywood has a loyalty test of its own,” Galloway stated. But first, he gave a brief history of the impact this had on Hollywood:
Months after Truman’s order, several dozen members of the film industry were summoned to appear as witnesses before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Nineteen of them, known as the “Unfriendly Nineteen” — a term coined by the red-baiting Hollywood Reporter — were left-wingers, hostile to the committee. Billy Wilder mordantly quipped that “only two of them have talent. The rest are just unfriendly.” But their summons sent waves of fear coursing through the industry, enough to paralyze even liberal supporters such as Humphrey Bogart, and certainly more conservative ones such as Gary Cooper.
By the end of the hearings, 10 of the witnesses had been cited for contempt of court, and soon some of the top movie executives issued what became known as the Waldorf Statement, a two-page press release vowing that “We will forthwith discharge or suspend without compensation those in our employ, and we will not re-employ any of the ten until such time as he is acquitted or has purged himself of contempt and declares under oath that he is not a Communist.”
It took over a decade for those blacklisted to pursue careers again in the movie industry. But Galloway warns that McCarthyism has returned but this time, with a flip in the script.
Though he is among the Hollywood Left who sympathizes with illegal aliens and “persecuting Muslims,” Galloway has noticed that Hollywood has a new enemy:
Back then it was fear of Communism; now it’s fear of an amorphous enemy that’s all the more potent to some for being unseen. Call it the fear of fear itself.
And here’s the surprising thing: that fear isn’t just felt by the usual groups liberals want to protect; it’s also felt by conservatives.
In an astonishing reversal of Hollywood history, just as liberals here once considered themselves an endangered species, so do conservatives today. They no longer are free to talk in the open, because they feel — rightly — we’re no longer prepared to listen, any more than they're prepared to listen to liberals. There's deafness on both sides.
Galloway said “there’s some truth” to Tim Allen’s recent comments on how Hollywood blackballs anyone who doesn’t toe its liberal line.
“Think I’m wrong? Imagine what Mel Gibson or Vince Vaughn must have felt at the Golden Globes,” Galloway wrote. “I couldn’t help wondering how the crowd would have reacted if they had spoken out instead of Meryl Streep. While she was given an ovation, they’d have been booed off the stage.”
“And that worries me,” Galloway continued. “Because nobody should be afraid to speak. Freedom of speech means freedom for all, for our opponents as well as ourselves.”
It’s nice to see someone from the left in Hollywood cluing in to the truth.