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CULTURE

What’s It Like Being Conservative in Hollywood?

John O'Hurley on the red carpet at Celebrity Fight Night XXV at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona.
John O'Hurley on the red carpet at Celebrity Fight Night XXV at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

“You just feel like your ideas are not welcome, that everybody is moving in a lock-step.”

Hollywood is notoriously liberal, but what is it like to be a Conservative in the entertainment world during these politically divisive times? Former “Seinfeld” actor John O’Hurley opened up to Yahoo Entertainment about his struggles.

O’Hurley is best known for playing Elaine’s pompous boss J. Peterman in the classic 1990s sitcom. He recently criticized actors Debra Messing and Eric McCormack, fellow NBC alums from sitcom “Will & Grace”, who called for a blacklist of people attending an upcoming Beverly Hills fundraiser for President Donald Trump.

In that scenario, O’Hurley was finally not alone on his views, in Hollywood: famously liberal actress Whoopi Goldberg and her cohost Joy Behar from talk show “The View” also condemned the proposed blacklist—citing the indisputable fact that the U.S. is a country where we have the freedom to vote for whoever we want without persecution. The TV hosts pressed that it was a slippery slope to ostracize individuals based on their political backgrounds, and that it could lead to adverse results including even suicide—as it has in previous instances of blacklisting.

Although O’Hurley stressed that this example of political “bullying” by Messing and McCormick is actually not pervasive in all of Hollywood, it’s obviously a challenge to be openly Conservative in the industry.

“You just feel like your ideas are not welcome, that everybody is moving in a lock-step,” O’Hurley told Yahoo Entertainment. “It creates a very uncreative atmosphere, and I don’t think it’s something that’s healthy for Hollywood. I believe that all ideas should be welcome, that’s the nature of creativity. The artistic expression is the act of the infinite possibility. And in order to have that, you have to have all the colors available on the palette. You have to have all perspectives of what you’re working with, and for people to want to cancel each other out because of the way that they feel, is just a dangerous and unhealthy atmosphere.”

O’Hurley pressed the need for civility.

“All ideas are welcome. Whatever my political thoughts are are really nobody else’s business and… they don’t deserve to be celebrated just because I’m a celebrity,” O’Hurley said. “I don’t feel as though I have an additional pulpit, that I’ve earned that because I’m a so-called celebrity.”

Surely, across the nation in various industries, cities, and states, we are inevitably going to cross paths with colleagues and people of different political ideologies—even those we otherwise would get along with. Although it’s obviously challenging, we must learn to have an open dialogue and aim for a constructive approach to our differences, rather than outright antagonism. People who simply voted differently from us are not immediately misaligned with us on every moral issue.

O’Hurley is currently working on a one-man show, “A Man With Standards”, debuting in Los Angeles Sept. 20-21 at Feinstein’s at Vitello’s in Studio City, California. It’s aiming to be a revival of the supper club, where audiences enjoy dinner and entertainment in the same place.

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