Promoting his new Christmas movie in an interview with The New York Times, actor Kurt Russell said that he doesn’t necessarily appreciate the idea of using his fame as an oversized soapbox for political issues. Russell said that actors are entertainers, and he advised his colleagues to remember that fact before sticking their noses into the sordid world of national politics.
“I’ve always been someone who felt we are court jesters,” said Russell. “That’s what we do. As far as I’m concerned, you should step away from saying anything so that you can still be seen by the audience in any character.”
Russell said he didn’t have any issue with actors keeping themselves informed and even active behind the scenes with the political subjects that interest them, but he said that presenting yourself as a political animal in the spotlight tends to take away from your status as an entertainer.
“There’s no reason entertainers can’t learn just as much as anybody else about a subject, whatever it is,” he said. “But I think that what’s sad about it is that they lose their status as a court jester. And I’m a court jester. That’s what I was born to do. A court jester is the only one who can walk into the castle and put the king down as long as he doesn’t hit too close to home. I think that’s been a big, important part of all cultures throughout history, and I’d like to see it stay in ours.”
Our take on it has always been this: Yes, actors have every right to their opinions. They have the same right to pontificate about the state of politics as the guy at the barbershop or the guy with the corner office at work. The problem is that they have a megaphone that is 600x the size of the average person’s…and they didn’t get that megaphone because they were so respected in the field of political expertise. They won their fame and celebrity through movies and TV. Therefore, they do not deserve to have such an oversized impact on our political discourse.
Then again, you could say the same thing for the whole of Hollywood, which is constantly determined to shove its liberal values down the country’s throat with their productions. That, in the end, is probably a lot more harmful than whatever Robert De Niro says in some MSNBC interview.