December 27, 2016

Entertainment's Reaction to Trump

Sam Lurie ‘19

The gruelling race for the presidency has finally come to a close, but with a surprise victory by Donald Trump. Many staples of the entertainment industry such as “Hamilton,” “Star Wars,” and “Saturday Night Live” are taking sides and GOA students are wondering if those in Hollywood or on Broadway should be sharing their political opinions.
Throughout the election, many popular fixtures in the entertainment industry have clearly backed one candidate or the other. However, these have mostly been television shows, such as “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” or “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” that engage in political humor clearly geared towards liberals, or shows directly related to a candidate, such as the cast of “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
However, now that many Americans are undeniably in shock about the election results, three very popular groups from today’s entertainment industry have taken strong stands.  
“Saturday Night Live” is known for its political humor and it has generally been balanced this election cycle, joking about Trump’s comments on Mexicans and relationships with women, while also poking fun at Clinton’s emails and untrustworthiness.
In the show right before the election, Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin, the comedians who portray Clinton and Trump, respectively, broke character and told America, “None of this will have mattered if you don’t vote. And we can’t tell you who to vote for, but on Tuesday, we all get a chance to choose what kind of country we want to live in.”
However, the show after the election featured a somber cold open with McKinnon, as Clinton, playing “Hallelujah” on the piano, partially in memory of the recently deceased Leonard Cohen, but also clearly in light of the election. She finished the song by announcing, “I’m not giving up and neither should you.”
In the post-election, Chris Weitz, a writer of the upcoming “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” tweeted, “Please note that the Empire is a white supremacist (human) organization” and his fellow writer, Gary Whitta, tweeted, “Opposed by a multi-cultural group led by brave women.”
These tweets have since been deleted, but Weitz kept another tweet of his featuring the logo for the Rebel Alliance with a safety pin, a symbol of safe spaces and opposition to Trump’s election. This included the caption, “Star Wars against hate. Spread it.”
The other major property in the entertainment industry to speak out was the wildly popular Broadway musical, “Hamilton.” Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance on November 18 and afterward, the cast stood on stage and addressed him saying, “Vice President Elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at “Hamilton: An American Musical.” … [We] are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights…”
In response to these incidents, sophomore Eitan Szteinbaum said that it is unfair for them to make these comments.
“This didn’t happen when Obama became president,” he said. “Unless they can tell the future, they can’t know if Trump’s administration symbolizes hatred and bigotry.”
Junior Moshe Karlin disagreed.
“[The entertainment industry’s reaction] was showing [Trump] what he was acting like,” Karlin said, referring to Trump’s rhetoric and mudslinging during the campaign. “Obama was elected fairly with an honest campaign. Trump bullied himself into the office.”
Junior Dina Doctoroff said she believed this is all being blown out of proportion.
“[The cast of Hamilton] didn’t attack Mike Pence, they were trying to say something in a respectful and calm way,” she added.

Whatever the answer to this moral question, there can be no denying that this election and its aftermath have been extremely hurtful and divisive. Let’s hope that in the next election, the president can be elected in a peaceful and respectful manner.

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