No Free speech in Hollywood. McCarthy would be proud!
This story first appeared in the Aug. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When the latest battle in Gaza finally is over, as someday it will be, hard feelings could linger in the corner offices of Hollywood toward the stars who have voiced anti-Israel sentiments. But will the artists who criticize Israel military strikes — particularly married Spaniards Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, who accused the country of “genocide” in a widely circulated July 25 letter — suffer career backlash in a town whose power brokers tend to be strong supporters of Israel?
So far, Relativity Media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is the only studio head willing to go public with his disgust. “As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I know that anyone calling what’s going on in Israel ‘genocide’ vs. self-defense is either ignorant and shouldn’t be commenting or is truly anti-Semitic,” Kavanaugh told THR on Aug. 2, saying the Spanish letter, signed by 100 filmmakers including Pedro Almodovar, “makes my blood boil.” Kavanaugh says he received more than 500 calls, emails and texts of support in the 24 hours after his comments were published, including from high-ranking industry executives, suggesting the sentiment is widespread.
Indeed, though they decline to go on record, many top execs contacted by THR privately express similar feelings — one says he’s “furious at Javier and Penelope” — and questioned whether they would want to work with the couple again. The stars’ letter laid the blame for the conflict on Israel, which it said “keeps advancing on Palestinian territories instead of withdrawing to the 1967 borders.” The actors’ follow-up attempts to clarify their open letter and express support for the Jewish people were met with “a collective eye roll,” according to one top exec. Some, like Kavanaugh, are taking the Israel statements personally. With the reports of Hamas’ sophisticated tunnel network and its 3,000 missile attacks against Israeli citizens in 2014, many are convinced that the current crisis underscores a threat to the Jewish state itself. (Kelly Bush, a rep for Bardem, and Amanda Silverman, who reps Cruz, declined comment.)
Among Hollywood figures, the typically outspoken Howard Stern, Joan Rivers and Bill Maherhave expressed support for Israel in the conflict, which has killed more than 1,800 people, mostly Palestinians. And Ray Donovan actor Jon Voight penned an open letter Aug. 2 demanding that Cruz, 40, and Bardem, 45, “hang your heads in shame.” Wrote Voight: “I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?”
But for the most part, Hollywood’s power brokers — including those who have raised money for pro-Israel causes, such as Barbra Streisand, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg — have avoided public comments on the conflict. Nor has there been criticism of other industry figures, including Jon Stewart, director Jonathan Demme and Mark Ruffalo, who have voiced nuanced concerns about Israel’s military action in Gaza while supporting the nation in general. “I don’t know why more prominent Hollywood people don’t speak out about what’s going on there,” Stern said on his radio show July 28. “They’re all afraid.” Hollywood political donor Haim Saban, one of the industry’s biggest Israel supporters, echoed those sentiments. “I don’t understand this myself,” Saban told theJewish Journal on Aug. 1. “But starting today, I will be working the phones to enlist the vocal support of people who I know have an interest in supporting our staunchest ally in the region — which also happens to be the only democracy in the region.”
Despite his strongly worded letter, Voight says he doesn’t think Cruz and Bardem — who are currently in South Africa as Bardem shoots Sean Penn‘s The Last Face — should suffer career fallout. “Don’t try to create a blacklist,” says Voight. “That doesn’t help you.” And one industry executive says he doesn’t believe the Israel comments reach the “Mel Gibson threshold.” When the actor was caught making virulent anti-Semitic remarks in 2010, he was marginalized and eventually dropped by agency WME (which reps Bardem, ironically) and faced widespread backlash.
In fact, many throughout Hollywood believe the careers of celebrities — those such as Rihanna, who tweeted “#FreePalestine,” or Piers Morgan, who tweeted “A WAR CRIME” in reaction to a news report of Palestinian children killed in an air strike — are unlikely to be impacted solely by political views that many executives oppose. During her best supporting actress acceptance speech at the 1977 Oscars, Vanessa Redgrave called out “a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums whose behavior is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world” and was booed. Nonetheless, Redgrave continued to work in major studio films.
One top producer who has worked with Cruz says he privately has vowed not to hire her again. Still, even Kavanaugh doesn’t foresee the letter hurting either of their careers as long as the audience for their work doesn’t turn. Or, as another producer points out: “I think the thing any executive or producer will try to calculate before working with Penelope Cruz or Javier Bardem in the near future is what their value is in the all-important international marketplace. And what territories they might have alienated people in by what they said. It might not be that many. But it’s really all about business.”
Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic on Punk, FairVote, Why He Dumped the Dems, & Why the GOP Should Embrace Anarchy
Remnants of the “rEVOLution” …. Still having an effect!
Krist Novoselic is best known as the co-founder and bassist of Nirvana, one of the most influential music groups of the past quarter century. The release of the band’s albums Bleach, Nevermind, and In Utero in the late 1980s and early ’90s not only mainstreamed what became known as grunge but helped to forever end what was once known as the mainstream. After Nirvana, it seems there is only alternative music and alternative culture, a transformation that is both liberating and anxiety-producing.
Born in 1965 in Compton, California, but raised in Aberdeen, Washington, Novoselic (pronounced know-voe-selitch) embodies the forces Nirvana helped to unleash. Since the 1994 suicide of band leader Kurt Cobain, Novoselic has continued to play with various groups, including a stint with the legendary post-punk band Flipper and sporadic collaborations with former Nirvana bandmate Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. But the bass player is also pushing to create an alternative approach to electoral politics.
In 2004, Novoselic published Of Grunge and Government: Let’s Fix This Broken Democracy, and these days he’s chairman of FairVote, a nonprofit that lobbies for electoral reform such as instant runoffs and proportional voting. After serving as chairman of his county Democratic committee for several years and supporting Barack Obama early on, he has broken with the Democratic Party, in part because “it’s a top-down structure” impervious to change from the grassroots.
Like Nirvana’s music, Novoselic’s politics cannot be easily categorized: He has donated money to Ron Paul’s campaign and he speaks in favor of the liberal-loathed Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which ended limits on non-coordinated political spending by corporations in federal elections. He’s active in his local chapter of the fraternal farmer’s organization, the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, proving you can go from grunge to Grange.
Novoselic recently sat down with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie to discuss FairVote (4:18), gerrymandering (8:34), how he self-describes politically (11:30), the Grange (12:23), decentralization in the punk rock world (14:43), his issues with Democrats (20:00), why Republicans should embrace anarchy (22:08), why he fled the anti-World Trade Organization demonstration in Seattle (27:51), living in Colorado in 1980 (30:33), the early days of Nirvana (34:32), playing Germany just days after the Berlin Wall fell (37:46), Kurt Cobain as an individual vs. as an icon (43:20), drug legalization (45:57), going to college online (47:50), why he owns guns (51:31), his musical guilty pleasure (55:34), and more.
Interview by Gillespie; produced by Meredith Bragg. About one hour.
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Paul Topete is the Singer, Guitarist, for the BAND Pokerface.
Paul talks about working with Alice N Chains Producer Toby Wright for the NEW Poker Face CD, and sets the stage for his yearly festival in PA – Freedom-Palooza July 4th – 7th.
(Caravan IN for this folks… Come out and meet Jack and Friends for a righteous camp out!)
Jack and Paul also discuss free speech in America, News Du Jour, and tell the truth about certain gate keepers in the American Patriot Movement.
Poker Face has been teaching through their music for the last 20 years. SUPPORT THEM! GET THEIR MERCH!
Paul’s FB here
Hey – At least he invented something…. (unlike Jay Z who is no doubt Jealous right now)
Dr. Dre leapfrogged Jay Z in FORBES’ latest rankings of hip-hop’s richest artists, claiming the number two position as his net worth soared to an estimated $550 million. Now it looks like the Beats cofounder could lay claim to the top spot in a matter of days.
Late Thursday night, the Financial Times reported that Apple AAPL -1.09% was in talks to buy Beats for $3.2 billion; the deal would be the computer giant’s largest acquisition ever. Dre’s stake in Beats currently stands at somewhere around 20-25%; we valued the company at $2 billion in our latest round of estimates.
A sale for $3.2 billion would nearly double the value of Dre’s holdings, though capital gains taxes could take a bite out of his big payday, likely leaving him with a net worth in the neighborhood of $800 million. It’s not quite enough to land on the Forbes 400, but it would easily make him hip-hop’s richest man, topping current champion Diddy by $100 million.
“Beats has a unique brand—it speaks to a nice young demographic, which is really interesting to marketers,” said Peter Csathy, former president of Musicmatch, an early digital music purveyor acquired by Yahoo YHOO -0.83% in 2004 for $160 million. “When I think about Beats, I think about it as a lifestyle, I think of it as a media company, not just a hardware and music-focused company.”
The value of that brand would also make a handful of other wealthy entrepreneurs even wealthier if the Apple deal goes through. Beats recently raised $60 million in funding from current investors including Dre, cofounder Jimmy Iovine and billionaire Len Blavatnik, via his company Access Industries.
A sale would also nix the possibility of a Beats IPO, which some speculated could be in the offing after the company hired chief financial officer An De Vooght, who spent 16 years in a similar role at Red Bull after stints at Sony and Price Waterhouse, in March.
Apple’s Beats buyout is still not official, and could certainly fall through. In the meantime, though, Dre appears set to break new ground in the business of music yet again.
Roger Waters, speaking on behalf of the Russell Tribunal, delivers a very nicely put speech in front of delegates on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This day also marks an important development in the Palestinians’ bid to statehood as they are now recognized as a non-member observer state.
Hopefully the world sees both sides of the story and that both conflicting parties go into negotiations towards a two-state peaceful solution and put an end this long and dragged out conflict. Enough is enough!
Tom 5 (Tom Guay) is a friend of the show. After months of Prodding… We finally got him on air. The catalyst?
April 19 th!
Tom 5 shares some pretty cool Rock n Roll stories, Goes deep into the Matrix with passion, and historical perspective….Over all – Kicks ass!
………………All the while getting his Motorcycle repaired for an all out ride at the Laughlin NV bike rally.
Ratmouth, Drowning of the Colossus – Manic-Holy, Bugs Gotta Eat Something – Cold Wind, Clones, Never Had a Clue Triple T- Funko Punko, Lady Sasquatch.
Allmusic writer Bradley Torreano gave the album three out of five stars, saying, “young Rob Zombie sounded like Damaged-era Rollins, while the band crafted some of the gnarliest grunge on the East Coast” and that “any fans of the New York noise scene would do themselves a favor by hearing this album”.
Kurt Cobain pointed to this record as being one of his favorite EPs, praising Tom Guay’s (TOM 5) guitar playing style as being “fucked-up, bending strings, borderline in-tune–that type of chaos”.
Figures…. Our big ally in the Mid East. If you are an artist – and want to take the big payoff to play in UAE – be prepared to bow sober.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Newspapers in the United Arab Emirates are reporting that the American drummer for the rock band Scorpions has been sentenced to one month in jail after being convicted of offensive behavior in Dubai.
The government-backed National newspaper reported Tuesday that James Kottak was convicted of insulting Islam, raising his middle finger and being under the influence of alcohol while in transit at Dubai airport.
The Gulf News daily says he was arrested April 3 en route from Russia to Bahrain, where the German band was scheduled to perform at a Formula One race. Kottak was a no-show at the April 5 concert.
The newspapers say Kottak admitted to drinking but denied other charges.
The Scorpions’ manager didn’t respond to requests for comment. Kottak’s local lawyer couldn’t immediately be reached.
Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens spoke at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston about how it is essential and appropriate for Supreme Court Justices to consider politics when deciding on Constitutional questions.
Stevens has written a book entitled, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution” and calls for severe restrictions on gun rights; as well as curbing free speech.
In this book, Stevens proposes these changes to the US Constitution:
• Measure to redraw district lines for political advantage
• Abolish the death penalty
• Limit money political candidates and supporters of campaigns
• Stricter gun control
• Abolish states’ sovereign immunity
Stevens said: “The first four would nullify judge-made rules, the fifth would expedite the demise of the death penalty, and the sixth would confine the coverage of the Second Amendment to the area intended by its authors.”
In his book, Stevens details “six specific ways in which the Constitution should be amended in order to protect our democracy and the safety and wellbeing of American citizens.”
In 1997, Stevens dissented in the case Printz v. United States and still insists that Congress needs to alter current federal gun law enforcement.
Two years ago, Stevens said that America should do ““whatever we could to prevent [another Sandy Hook shooting] from happening again.”
Read THE REST HERE: Occupy Corporatism
April 12th Meeting #224 What Really Happened at Waco and Why Will It Happen Again?
Stuart Nelson, (PhD Agnotology) and long time activist, researcher featured guest of several talk radio hosts, and member of the volunteer team that rebuilt the Branch Davidian church, will expose a very different view of the horrific siege we all saw unfold 21 years ago in Waco. Our so-called media reported government lies over and over again. Finally, Stuart will show how this kind of attack has happened and will happen again if we the people don’t stop those who deliberately shock the nation’s psyche in order to feed their obsession for power and wealth. We must never forget all the victims of April 19th,1993 in Waco Tx…. including you.
THIS is why you pay your Tax? Taxpayers spent $1.4 billion on Obama family last year, perks questioned in new book
1 Billion to get re-selected… Billion$ more to keep the Obama’s happy. People are homeless, jobless, and starving out here Cousin Barry!
Taxpayers spent $1.4 billion dollars on everything from staffing, housing, flying and entertaining President Obama and his family last year, according to the author of a new book on taxpayer-funded presidential perks.
In comparison, British taxpayers spent just $57.8 million on the royal family.
Author Robert Keith Gray writes in “Presidential Perks Gone Royal” that Obama isn’t the only president to have taken advantage of the expensive trappings of his office. But the amount of money spent on the first family, he argues, has risen tremendously under the Obama administration and needs to be reined in.
Gray told The Daily Caller that the $1.4 billion spent on the Obama family last year is the “total cost of the presidency,” factoring the cost of the “biggest staff in history at the highest wages ever,” a 50 percent increase in the numbers of appointed czars and an Air Force One “running with the frequency of a scheduled air line.”
“The most concerning thing, I think, is the use of taxpayer funds to actually abet his re-election,” Gray, who worked in the Eisenhower administration and for other Republican presidents, said in an interview with TheDC on Wednesday.
“The press has been so slow in picking up on this extraordinary increase in the president’s expenses,” Gray told TheDC. (RELATED: Five shocking truths about Michelle Obama)
Specifically, Gray said taxpayer dollars are subsidizing Obama’s re-election effort when he uses Air Force One to jet across the country campaigning.
When the trip is deemed political, it’s customary for the president to pay the equivalent of a first class commercial ticket for certain passengers. But Gray says that hardly covers the taxpayer cost of flying the president and his staffers around on Air Force One.
“When the United States’ billion-dollar air armada is being used politically, is it fair to taxpayers that we only be reimbursed by the president’s campaign committee for the value of one first-class commercial ticket for each passenger who is deemed aboard ‘for political purposes?’” Gray asks in the book.
“And is that bargain-price advantage fair to those opposing an incumbent president?” (SEE ALSO: Millions of taxpayer dollars used for Disney World conference)
In the book, Gray admits Americans want their president to be safe and comfortable but argues the system should be reformed to stop the amount of unquestioned perks given to the president.
“There is no mechanism for anyone’s objection if a president were to pay his chief of staff $5,000,000 a year,” he told TheDC. “And nothing but a president’s conscience can dissuade him from buying his own reelection with use of some public money.”
Aside from a salary, the president gets a $50,000 a year expense account, a $100,000 travel account, $19,000 entertainment budget and an additional million for “unanticipated needs,” he notes.
Read more: Daily Caller