(Paul Jacob/Citizens in Charge) – Hollywood folks often boast about their tolerance and liberality. Maybe they should look up those words.
Our national myth-makers especially like to go over the horrors of the McCarthy “Blacklist” period, when the power of government nudged studio owners to blacklist writers and actors and directors who were (or were associated with) Communists.
Almost no one likes blacklists. Indeed, the McCarthy period censorship did much to harm the anti-communist movement.
But don’t look for such subtleties of judgment from Hollywood today. After all, there is a working blacklist right now.
This time, though, there’s no pressure from Congress or regular Americans for this form of censorship. Hollywood players serve as their own censors, maintaining their blacklist by shunning those they don’t agree with politically.
Take the case of J. Neil Schulman. He was an up-and-coming writer in the ’80s. The people at L.A. Law really liked his proposals. But he had the gall to write an op-ed they didn’t approve of, favoring the right to gun ownership, so the L.A. Law folks dropped him like a hot potato, and spread the word. “Too right-wing,” they said.
Dan Gifford tells the tale on Big Hollywood. It’s an interesting story. You can see why the new blacklist is more effective than the old: It’s tacit, hush-hush. There are no hearings, interviews, what-have-you. But the effect is pretty much the same as the McCarthy Era blacklist: Chilling.