While it may help to be overly political in some fields, the entertainment industry is certainly not one of them. Hollywood has always been notoriously political, typically leaning toward the left side of things (with a few exceptions). The film, music, and television industry is generally adamant about taking a progressive stance on issues while also appealing to a sense of patriotism and middle-class values. It’s a complex balancing act that can make for a sea of detractors when celebrities go against the grain. For examples of entertainers who have been vilified for their views, here are 15 famous faces whose outspoken politics made them unpopular in Hollywood.
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Though former Saturday Night Live Weekend Update host Dennis Miller was perceived as a left-leaning cynic throughout his career, he publicly switched over to the Republican Party following the events of 9/11. In 2007, Miller took his conservative views to radio by hosting The Dennis Miller Show. The comedian-turned-political-pundit has been cast as a right-wing fanatic by many of his Hollywood contemporaries, an image Miller has helped cultivate by regularly attacking the film industry for becoming part of the liberal status quo. Despite his public perception as a right-winger, Miller maintains a number of left leaning views that include being pro-choice and pro-gay marriage.
Adam Carolla, The Man Show creator and current iTunes number one podcaster regularly stirs controversy by making sweeping generalizations of a comedic sort, particularly in regards to racial, sexual and gender groups. He caught heat from GLAAD in 2011 when, in regards to the transgender community, he asked “When did we start giving a s— about these people?” He later apologized for the rant, calling himself “a comedian, not a politician.” Most recently Carolla was accused of racism by the Huffington Post following an interview with California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Carolla lashed out at the site, claiming Newsom invoked race for political reasons. On his podcast, Carolla boiled down his viewpoint on the issue to “Me saying parents should stick around and raise the children… is not radical or revolutionary. It’s the f—ing truth.” Though popular with his fellow comedians, Carolla’s politics have soured the mouths of many left wingers in Hollywood.
Action star and internet meme sensation Chuck Norris has been away from the big screen for some time now (aside from his cameo in The Expendables 2, of course). Part of this is due to his age and part of it is due to his extremely right wing politics. Norris is an evangelical Christian and a major critic of President Barack Obama, so much so that in a 2009 interview Norris implied his home state of Texas needed to secede from the current “secular government.” Norris has been a columnist for the right-wing site World Net Daily since 2006, where he regularly shares his opinions on gun control (he’s against it) and the gay community (also not a fan).
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Clueless actress Stacey Dash came under fire during the 2012 presidential election for voicing her support for Republican Party Candidate Mitt Romney. The actress took to Twitter to announce her pick in the race, prompting a flurry of criticism from fans and celebs alike (including fellow actor Samuel L. Jackson). Later, after Romney’s loss, Dash penned a letter that was picked up by TMZ citing her disappointment with America’s decision (though she did offer some words of praise to winner Barack Obama).
Though Jenny McCarthy remains mostly liberal in her politics, the actress is likely willing to back any side that will support her controversial views on autism and vaccination. While her advocacy for autism research is admired by many, her anti-vaccination politics have been less successful. McCarthy’s crusade against vaccinations, which she credits with having rendered her son autistic, has been shunned by the majority of the medical science community and Hollywood in general. Many medical experts and public figures have accused McCarthy’s autism politicking as dangerous, misleading, erroneous, and posing a threat to the public’s health.
Everybody Loves Raymond actress Patricia Heaton remains one of Hollywood’s most outspoken conservative actresses. She’s a leading pro-life advocate who opposes abortion, euthanasia, and death penalty rulings. She Tweets regularly about her causes, which has gotten her embroiled in controversy in the past. Last year she directed sarcastic Tweets at Georgetown law student and feminist Sandra Fluke (who famously testified to House Democrats about the importance of contraception mandates for insurance companies). Heaton later apologized for the insults following a storm of criticism. In recent interviews, the actress has admitted her conservative status has hindered her mainstream Hollywood career.
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Comedienne Victoria Jackson may be better known these days for her extremist right wing politics than for her six year stint on Saturday Night Live (from 1986 to 1992). With the following stunts she has seemingly made a new career out of thumbing her nose at Hollywood left wingers (including former SNL contemporary Al Franken. The actress has become a vocal critic of President Barack Obama (calling him a “communist” on multiple occasions) as well as an activist for the Tea Party. As a devout Evangelical Christian, Jackson has also been accused of homophobia for her protest of an episode of Glee that showed two male actors kissing (which Jackson called “sickening”). ). Last year she published an autobiography chronicling her move from late night to the right wing, Is My Bow To Big? How I went from Saturday Night Live to the Tea Party.
The Dixie Chicks
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Country trio The Dixie Chicks spoke out against former President George W. Bush when it wasn’t widely acceptable. During a 2003 concert in London, the group announced they did not support the war in Iraq and they were ashamed the president was from Texas (their home state). Following a public outcry, the group went on a public campaign to explain their issues with the war. Subsequently The Dixie Chicks became pariahs within the ranks of the country music industry and were shunned at the American Country Music Awards. Hollywood eventually caught up with the trio’s view, however, and granted them three Grammys for their 2002 album Home.
Oliver Stone has always been a political live wire thanks to directorial efforts like JFK, Salvador, and Wall Street. In 2010 the director may have crossed a political line when he claimed America didn’t know the “full story” regarding Iran. He also claimed that the Jewish community had quietly taken over the media and foreign policies. He linked this theory to Hollywood’s love affair with Jewish Holocaust-themed movies (rather than vehicles about the 40-million casualties garnered by the Soviet Union in World War II). Stone would later apologize for both statements (which surely haven’t helped further his Hollywood career).
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Kirk Cameron of Growing Pains fame became and Evangelical Christian during the early 1990s. He’s parlayed his religion into a string of faith-based, mainstream crossover movie hits like Fireproof. With this in mind shouldn’t be too much of a shock to hear that the majority of Cameron’s Christian views on politics do not jibe with left wing Hollywood. As a creationist, Cameron has been responsible for a number of propaganda against evolutionary theory, linking Charles Darwin’s work to Nazi racial theories. In 2012 Cameron cemented his status as a Hollywood left-wing punchline when he admonished homosexuality as “unnatural, detrimental and ultimately destructive to foundations of civilization” on an episode of Piers Morgan. A number of Hollywood figures, including former c0-star Alan Thicke, criticized Cameron for his anti-gay comments. Despite Cameron’s initial indie success, we doubt if Fireproof II will be making it into theaters anytime soon.
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Business magnate and reality star Donald Trump has been a regular punching bag in Hollywood thanks to his ultra-right wing political views. Despite having been a registered Democrat, Trump switched over in 2008 to give his support to John McCain in that year’s Presidential Election. After the party’s loss, the entrepreneur began hinting at running in 2012. Nothing concrete ever happened, of course, and many have accused Trump of campaigning simply to promote his show The Apprentice. Trump’s work as an Obama detractor has also made him the subject of ridicule, especially after he accused Obama of not being a U.S. citizen. Trump’s “birther” issue has generally been regarded as an embarrassment by just about everyone (though Republican polls showed 51% of primary voters believed the claims).
Toward the end of his life Planet of the Apes star Charlton Heston bled conservatism. After decades espousing liberal politics, the actor made the switch to Republicanism in the 1980s. Heston became well known for supporting gun rights as well as presidential candidates Ronald Regan, George H.W. Bush, and George Bush. The actor garnered a lot of controversy during the 1990s for claiming right wingers had been subjugated and anti-white views had become mainstream. From 1998 until 2003, Heston was also the President of the National Rifle Association, a title that was later skewered by Michael Moore in the Academy Award winning documentary Bowling For Columbine.
Before Charlton Heston became Hollywood’s Republican outcast, John Wayne fit the role like a glove. Though Wayne’s conservative politics were accepted after World War II, things took a turn when he showed his support for America’s conflict in Vietnam. In 1968, he produced and starred in The Green Berets, the most blatant piece of pro-‘Nam propaganda to come out of Hollywood and a film that’s content stood in stark contrast to the actual war being fought. Though Wayne was hugely popular with Republicans, he was vilified by the majority of his Hollywood peers. Many actors who starred in his later films claimed they were blacklisted because of their affiliation with Wayne. Toward the end of his career, Hollywood would eventually accept Wayne and vice-versa. In 1979 The Duke presented an Academy Award for Best Picture to the makers of the anti-Vietnam war film The Deer Hunter. Months later Wayne succumbed to stomach cancer.
With The Terminator series, Arnold Schwarzenegger ruled Hollywood as one of Tinsel Town’s biggest stars. Then, in 2003, things took a turn when he went after a very different role—that of California’s Governor. He won the part, of course, thus beginning a rocky new relationship with the entertainment industry. Despite beginning a career with record high approval ratings, Schwarzenegger ended his run with a record low. In 2010, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Schwarzenegger one of the 11 worst governors in the U.S. due to a lack of ethics while in office. This claim was in part substantiated by allegations of sexual misconduct leveled at the governor, who many re-dubbed “The Gropenator.” In 2011, a sex scandal involving Schwarzenegger’s fathering of an illegitimate son with a Guatemalan nanny more or less confirmed the lack of ethics. Now out of office and divorced, Arnold is attempting an acting comeback to wipe the slate of bad political moral and decisions clean.
Before Arnold decided to step into office, Clint Eastwood was splitting his time acting in films with acting as an elected official. The libertarian star was mayor of Carmel-By-The-Sea, California from 1986 to 1988. In 2001, 2004, and 2005 he was also appointed to the California State Park and Recreation Commission. Despite his experience in politics, none of it seemed to prepare him for his 2012 speech at the Republic National Convention. There the actor became the subject of Hollywood ridicule for doing a bit where he had a satirical, on-stage conversation with President Barack Obama, who was personified by an empty chair. The incident was derided for being unfunny, nonsensical, and generally a failure to all those who weren’t right wingers. Even the President ridiculed the event in a Tweet that responded “This seat’s taken.” To his credit, Eastwood later admitted he was unprepared and ill-suited for the event. He has also claimed there are more Republicans in Hollywood’s ranks that Eastwood was speaking for, though they remain stifled by the kind of criticism the actor received.