As awful as Donald Trump is, as oafish his attitude to women, I think his celebrity haters are even worse. Since the Trump tape was leaked, and The Donald’s special way with the ladies made public, Tinseltown has started to emit a collective shriek of A-list rage. Mark Ruffalo (the Incredible Hulk) and pals have begun an anti-Trump petition: ‘Artists United Against Hate’; Cher compared Trump to Hitler; Jennifer Lawrence has said that she thinks the world might actually end if Trump won. Robert De Niro has released a video in which he simply insults Trump straight to camera: ‘He’s a punk, a dog. He’s a pig…I’d like to punch him in the face.’ I’d like to give them all a shake, for being such appalling hypocrites. Here’s what Trump said:
‘You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. Anything.’
Well it’s nasty, but it’s hardly surprising. There he is with his peach-tint comb-over and politics to match: over-blown, concocted. Of course he’s a groper: Look at him.
It’s nasty, but it’s also an attitude that’s most prevalent in Hollywood, in the still murky world of casting couches. All of those outraged celebrities who’ve had such fun attacking Trump know perfectly well that powerful studio heads still abuse their power and expect and get sex in return for acting jobs. So where’s the celebrity uproar about that?
Where, for instance, was ‘Artists United Against Hate’ when Harvey Weinstein, the co-founder of Miramax Studios was accused of assaulting a young Italian model in the spring of last year? Though the charges were dropped, Harvey never denied the groping which was wise of him because he’s famous for it. He holds casting sessions in his bathrobe, it’s said. The New York Times journalist, Jennifer Senior, describes his behaviour as an open secret in Hollywood. She tweeted: ‘At some point all the women who’ve been afraid to speak out about Harvey are gonna have to hold hands and jump.’
I will take Robert De Niro’s views on Trump seriously the day he releases a film threatening to punch Harvey Weinstein. I could perhaps have accepted the rest of the red carpet crew’s howls of outrage about Trump’s ‘locker room’ bragging if a single one of them had declared themselves at least uncomfortable about their friend Rob Lowe’s Comedy ‘roast’ on America last Monday. How the audience laughed as Lowe was ribbed for filming himself having sex with two 16-year-old groupies. No talk of taking advantage or objectification. More admiration really. It was Ann Coulter, a Trump supporter who really got it in the neck: ‘Why is Ann Coulter here tonight?’ asked one roaster. ‘Because the right-to-lifers wanted everyone to see what an abortion looks like up close.’ Very amusing.
‘When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.’ The other great unremarked on fact about the Trump’s misogynist swaggering is that it’s true. Women often do let powerful men maul them about, even if there’s no quid pro quo: no leg up for the leg over. It happens in politics; in Trump’s world of real estate business breakfasts and beauty pageants; but again, it happens most often in Hollywood. Women let celebrities get away with it not because they enjoy being grabbed by the groin, but because they feel flattered; special. They, wrongly, consider it not an insult but a compliment that the big shot chose them to paw at. Are these girls culpable then? Don’t they create the environment in which the Weinsteins and the Trumps feel free to clutch away?
The celebs against Trump are not into the subtleties of the argument. They’re especially not into admitting Trump might have a point. They’re busy, they’d say, helping to save America; trying to persuade voters to turn away from the darkness of Donald towards the Democratic light. But here again, they’re deluded. Insulting a candidate, even one as daft as Donald, calling him a pig and implying that his followers are morons is no way to sway a swing voter. It will instead, alienate him. I suspect De Niro and co are not really in the business of trying to stop Trump, whether they know it or not. It’s the political limelight they crave. They’ve conquered showbiz and now long to be taken seriously as commentators on world affairs. Let’s hope their intervention doesn’t prove too counterproductive.