James Woods: I've been blacklisted and I'm outta here

In case you’re not already following him, James Woods has one of the more entertaining Twitter accounts in the social media world. This is particularly true if you enjoy your humor with a sharp-tongued conservative edge. But that makes Woods something of a unicorn in the political sphere of Twitter because he’s also a well known actor. Finding Hollywood icons with openly shared conservative beliefs who aren’t named Clint Eastwood is is a project which makes four leaf clovers seem commonplace by comparison.

But there’s apparently a price to be paid for that frankness. Woods has already stated that he had been blacklisted by the Tinseltown Powers That Be over his political leanings and now he’s had enough. As Fox News Entertainment reports, Woods is throwing in the towel and retiring.

Just weeks after James Woods said he was blacklisted in Hollywood because of his conservative views, the Oscar-nominated actor said he was retiring from the industry.

Woods tweeted this summer that he had “accepted the fact that” he was blacklisted from Hollywood because of his views. He has said being conservative has made it tough to find work in Hollywood the past few years…

The news of his retirement was included in a press release issued by Woods’ real estate agent offering Woods’ Rhode Island lake house for sale.

Allen Gammons said Friday that Woods is 70 and wants to relax. He says the actor’s brother and mother recently died, and he hopes to spend more time on passions including photography, antiquing and poker.

While it’s a shame to lose him on the silver screen, it’s not as if we’ve actually had Woods for a very long time now. Then again, at the age of 70, while I’m sure he could have put in a lot more good work he’s certainly earned a pleasant retirement and a chance to play more poker.

I wanted to examine the blacklisting claim for a moment today, however. How valid is the charge? To answer that we need look no further than Woods’ track record at the box office and the awards show circuit. You see, for all of its faults, Hollywood has long operated as at least something of a meritocracy. If you’re involved in directing or staring in an expensive, big budget film which entirely flops, that tends to have a negative impact on your career. Nobody wants to keep flushing millions of dollars down a rat hole that fails to bring a decent ROI. But if you have a hot hand and are packing them in at the theaters, backers will show up the moment your current project wraps and attempt to smuggle you off to their next endeavor in locked up wagon if they have to.

Sure, you run into the occasional problems like women not getting paid anywhere near as much as men and the risk of encountering somebody like Harvey Weinstein and attempting to escape with your virtue intact, but for the most part it’s a fairly capitalist ecosystem. But what about James Woods? In the 80s and well into the 90s he was getting leading roles (or at least one of the more prominent supporting characters) in a fair number of films. He did Once Upon a Time in America with Robert De Niro (Golden Globe nominee), Salvador (two Oscar nods), Casino, Ghosts of Mississippi and more. Let’s face it.. the man was putting butts into seats in the theaters.

And yet his leading role opportunities suddenly dried up. Why retire a horse that’s still winning races? The only other obvious explanation is the one Woods has already provided. Hollywood doesn’t like conservatives infiltrating their ranks and threatening to pop the thought bubble. And so they’ll shut them out, even if it means going with other “talent” which produces such astounding box office giants as Miss Sloane which, if they can somehow double their current take in DVD sales, might someday actually break even.

Adios, Mr. Woods. Enjoy your retirement and best of luck at the poker tables. You’re probably better off without that crowd anyway.