Hollywood and Washington conservatives have never gotten along.
But the call to action in this town is hitting a new level during the early days of President Donald Trump’s administration. The entertainment industry’s general antipathy toward Trump was on full display Sunday at the Oscars, where references to the President’s controversial actions during his first month in office were center stage.
“I want to say thank you to President Trump,” host Jimmy Kimmel said in his opening monologue. “I mean, remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?”
In a reference to Trump’s targeted travel ban and his administration’s stance on immigration, Kimmel joked that in Hollywood “we don’t discriminate against people based on where they’re from, we discriminate against them based on their age and weight.” He trolled Trump on Twitter and also offered fake mockery of Meryl Streep, who was targeted by Trump earlier this year after she attacked him in a fiery speech at the Golden Globes.
Beyond the jokes which were threaded throughout the evening, perhaps the strongest anti-Trump statement of the night was from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who won the Oscar in the foreign language category for “The Salesman.” He announced days earlier that he would not travel to the Oscars as a form of protest against Trump’s travel ban – blocked by federal courts – affecting seven predominantly Muslim nations. In a statement read by his associate, Farhadi said his absence was out of respect for the people of his and the other six countries.
“Dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war,” Farhadi’s statement said. “These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression.”
Of course, protests from Hollywood often play in the GOP’s hands. Republicans have long dismissed criticism from the entertainment industry as further proof that it’s out of touch, part of the “coastal elite” and an ATM for the political left. Trump, who is leveling similar charges against the news media and announced this weekend he won’t attend the black-tie White House Correspondents’ Dinner, is sure to do the same.