And Juan Williams should know — he’s had first-hand experience with the phenomenon. NPR fired Williams four years ago for admitting in a segment on The O’Reilly Factor that travelers boarding commercial flights in “Muslim garb” cause him to “get worried … get nervous.” Never mind that Williams and our own Mary Katharine spent the entire segment arguing that Bill O’Reilly was painting Muslims with too broad a brush and that a distinction had to be made between moderate and extremist Muslims; NPR cashiered Williams for the one sentence he uttered, calling it “inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.” The experience became an epiphany for Williams about which side of the political spectrum actually practices the tolerance that the other preaches, although Williams himself remains as liberal as ever.
So when the opportunity comes to roast limousine liberals for intolerance and hypocrisy, especially on race, Williams has no hesitation in dropping the hammer. The release of hacked e-mails from Sony has presented Williams with a rich target, and he hits a bullseye:
Hacked emails from Hollywood’s white, liberal elite show them belittling the president by assuming his taste in movies is confined to racial stereotypes fitting just another black guy.
“Should I ask him if he likes’ DJANGO?’” asked Amy Pascal, a Sony Pictures’ co-chair. Scott Rudin, a movie producer, responds: “Or ‘The Butler’… or ‘Ride-Along. ‘ I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”
Where to begin unpacking that powder keg of race and class bigotry? …
She assumes that he is sure to share the working-class, juvenile delight of Hart’s racial slapstick. And it does not make much sense in her racial construct but she also thinks the president must also be interested in movies about the weighty topics of slavery and the civil rights movement.
Pascal and Rudin, on their way to meet the president at a Democratic fundraiser, have no hesitation about painting Obama into this limited, one-dimensional personality. What they have revealed is how demeaning and patronizing their liberal minds can be even when the man is the leader of the nation.
Pascal and Rudin have gone on an apology tour of sorts in an attempt to unwind the damage caused by this exchange. Pascal’s planning an appearance on Al Sharpton’s MSNBC show to demonstrate contrition and receive the secular blessing of the host/activist. She’ll probably get it too, although not without some commitment that atones for her sins — perhaps a three-pic development deal for Sharpton with gross points tossed in? Whatever it takes.
By the way, when will the media provide such a rehabilitation tour for, say, Mel Gibson? John Nolte explains the double standard for Hollywood/media rehabs:
Pascal was one of the first Hollywood executives to exile Mel Gibson after news of his drunken anti-Semitic rant became public in 2006. The rest of Hollywood soon followed. One of Hollywood most bankable stars, who also happened to be an Oscar-winning director, was ruined. And for the last 8 years (there was another incident in 2010) Gibson has remained ruined. …
If you’re looking for a defense of Mel Gibson, you’re not going to find it here. But let’s put our cards on the table: If Amy Pascal or Scott Rudin had directed “The Passion of the Christ” they would already be exiled over these emails. Gibson did a terrible thing (twice), but with “The Passion,” and most especially the game-changing success of “The Passion,” the provincial, anti-Christian bigots that run much of Hollywood wanted him exiled long before he gave them a reason.
Rudin and Pascal, however, are high-powered, elite, leftists in good standing. Both are major Democrat donors (will Hillary accept money from either?) and promoters of left-wing causes through their films. Pascal has received awards for her environmental activism and kudos for calling for self-censorship in order to protect gays from any kind of offense. …
With the banishment of Mel Gibson, Hollywood set a standard. If that standard is broken for Pascal and Rudin, the message it sends to all of us, but most especially black America, is unmistakable and inexcusable.
Don’t expect the media to highlight the hypocrisy Williams skewers in his essay, though. It doesn’t advance the conservatives-are-Neanderthals-on-race-gender-and-class narrative that has been in play for decades, a narrative that the entertainment industry has invested heavily in perpetuating in its own products. To spend much time mulling over the intimate communications of those who control those messages and point out their naked hypocrisy and bigotry would be to call all of the narrative into question, and we can’t have that, can we?
However, the hacked messages are too big of a story to completely ignore, so expect the coverage to mainly stick with the gossipy, inter-personal relations contretemps that will hook celebrity-watchers. That will provide endless hours of amusement, but … should it? Nick Gillespie compares the media’s curiosity about the private conversations of Sony execs with their sanctimonious scolding over hacked celebrity photos, and calls foul in Time Magazine:
It was just a few months ago that everybody and his grandmother was truly livid—or at least feigned anger before firing up our search engines—when hackers released naked pictures of celebrities ranging from Jennifer Lawrence to Kate Upton to Dave Franco. Curiously, such outrage is almost completely missing in the media’s response to the massive hack attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, which may be linked to the North Korean government and has dumped private emails, contracts, files of unreleased movies, and more all across the Internet.
This time around, there is unapologetic prurience at the chance to get a real behind-the-scenes look at an industry long notorious for its wicked, backbiting, and hypocritical ways. Big-shot producer Scott Rudin tells Sony co-chair Amy Pascal he thinks Angelina Jolie is “a minimally talented spoiled brat”? A-List director David Fincher is as difficult as Hitler was anti-Semitic? Tell us more! …
The deep pull of hacked naked pictures of celebrities isn’t simply that we common people get to see the stars in their birthday suits. After all, many celebrities have either bared all on their day jobs and hyper-realistic Photoshopped fakes of everyone from Sarah Palin to Joe Biden already haunt the Internet like Banquo’s ghost (there are probably full-junk shots of him online too). It’s that these are images that were not meant to be seen by the mere public (indeed, that was the lure of early celebrity sex tapes that, often as not, may have been made with the intention their being leaked). They promise some sort of secret knowledge of the “real” star that Hollywood has always tried to obscure in its manipulation of public images. In an age of Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, and–more importantly–TMZ, we don’t just want to see the finished product, we want to see what’s behind the curtain. And what execs really think of the stars they pay so well.
That’s true from the hacked emails and documents from Sony. When studio executive Clint Culpepper calls rising comedian and movie star Kevin Hart “a greedy whore” for demanding payment to do “social media” on a movie, it’s the sort of revelation that confirms all of our nastiest intuitions. The hypocrisy on display in the emails—a movie mogul pissed at a performer asking for money?—is nothing short of electrifying.
The hypocrisy from the media about hacked communications, and what they choose to use and what they don’t, nothing short of utterly revealing, too. Then again, we’re probably just Neanderthals for pointing it out.