From Planned Parenthood galas to Clinton fundraisers, Hollywood actors are known to spend their off screen time engaging in more liberal activities. It is no secret that Hollywood A-listers tend to not only vote democrat, but advocate for democratic candidates and causes. So, what happens to republicans in Hollywood? They go to Hallmark.
The Hallmark channel is host to a variety of family friendly movies, often promoting a wholesome message. Viewers of the channel have seen an increasing number of celebrities who have openly expressed their conservative values and can most likely expect to see more as Hollywood continues to lean further to the left.
Candace Cameron Bure is a regular on the Hallmark channel. Most famously known for her childhood role on Full House, she has faced immense backlash after conveying conservative views. The majority of the displeasure viewers felt toward Cameron Bure came from her time on the daytime talk show, The View. During her time on the show, Cameron Bure often faced opposition from her cohosts for her more traditional views. One episode of the morning talk show featured a heated argument between Candace and her cohost Raven Symone, regarding an Oregon bakery’s refusal to bake a cake for a same sex couple’s wedding. Following the dispute, Candace faced public backlash, involving death threats. Cameron Bure later left the show at the end of the year, crediting her “commitments to ‘Fuller House’” and “work with the Hallmark Channel’”. Cameron can be found with recurring roles in Hallmark films throughout the year. It is worth noting her obvious preference to two lower budget, more family friendly programs.
Melissa Joan Hart may have been known as teenage witch in the early 2000s, but is now seen as a witch by the entertainment industry for a whole slew of reasons. Hart first showed her political engagement in 2012, just days before the election when she announced on Twitter that she would be voting for Mitt Romney. Following her tweet endorsement, Hart asked her followers to “Finish this sentence for me… Being a republican in Hollywood is like being…..???? #election2012” The aforementioned tweet was not the only time the star was vocal about the struggles of being a conservative in the entertainment industry. During an interview with Sean Hannity, Hart opened up about the hate she received after expressing her support for Mitt Romney. Comparing Hollywood’s opposition to conservatives to a “blacklist”, Hart described the whole situation as “scary”. Since her comments, Hart has not appeared in any major films or television shows, aside from her Freeform show, ‘Melissa and Joey’, which was already being filmed at the time. She is, however, booking roles in Hallmark Christmas films.
Former Superman Dean Cain has replaced his red cape with red political views. An advocate for gun rights and making frequent appearances on Fox News, Cain is more politically engaged than ever- and not afraid to show it. Despite claims that Hollywood will shut out conservative actors, Cain is proud to say he is “very willing to discuss any politics with anybody”. It is justifiable to say that Cain has booked much lower level films- including Hallmark films, and television programs since his days on Lois and Clark’s Superman. You might ask yourself what has changed in his career, but the answer can be found in the fact he chose not to conform to Hollywood’s liberal standards.
So, why is it that we see conservatives like the three mentioned above picking up fewer roles? A movie’s audience is what the entertainment industry considers to be a consumer, and directors are more likely to hire actors who are well liked and less controversial. The “controversial” opinions in the entertainment industry have proven time and time again to be ones that promote a conservative message. It is seen as much more bold and unexpected when an actor or actress endorses a republican candidate or uses their platform to speak on behalf of the conservative movement. There is, however, a channel that promotes a more conservative and traditional message. The Hallmark channel has become a home for these actors, a place where viewers are likely to be much more receptive of them.
Hollywood has become host to republicans hiding their political affiliation for fear of it affecting their career. The celebrities who were not courageous enough to speak up like the ones mentioned above founded a secret underground movement, called “Friends of Abe”. Founded by Gary Sinise, the group takes part in activities that range from meetings to campaigning. However, the group quietly shut down in 2016. Executive director Jeremy Boreing discussed the group’s dispersal and said, “Today, because we have been successful in creating a community that extends far beyond our events, people just don’t feel as much of a need to show up for every speaker or bar night, and fewer people pay the dues that help us maintain that large infrastructure”. Speculation regarding the group’s sudden disappearance arose, with most wondering if the organization and its members succumbed to pressure. Despite the group’s efforts and its leaving, a handful of outspoken republicans in Hollywood remain.
Actors, like in many professions, run the risk of putting their career in danger when discussing their views. This is especially the case for conservatives in Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole. The liberal view is the popular view among Hollywood elitists, including directors. We see the effects of an actor or actress expressing a view that goes against the societal norm set for them, and the correlation between their conservative political engagement and both the number and quality of roles they are offered.