NEW YORK – As the watershed Nov. 3 elections draw ever closer, numerous American celebrities are leveraging their star power to help get out the vote. However, only a few have dared to publicly express their support for incumbent President Donald Trump.
Prominent figures in both Hollywood and the music industry have historically touted their progressive political bona fides by vociferously denouncing racism, demanding legalization of gay marriage and insisting on publicly funded health care.
But the occasionally divergent voice is heard, with some actors and recording artists airing their conservative views via interviews or social media and even choosing to echo Trump’s “Make America Great Again” catchphrase and weather the inevitable backlash.
One of these odd men out is African-American rapper, actor and producer and New York City resident 50 Cent, who has caused a stir in recent days by vowing to cast his ballot for Trump and tweeting that Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden’s tax plan could turn him into “20 Cent.”
“WHAT THE F___! (VOTE ForTRUMP) IM OUT. F___ NEW YORK. The (New York) KNICKS never win anyway. I don’t care Trump doesn’t like black people,” the recording artist said in a profanity-laced rant on Instagram. “62 percent. Are you out of ya f___ing mind.”
50 Cent was referring to a potential combined city, state and federal income tax rate for top earners in New York City of just over 62 percent, although, despite Biden’s proposal, many of these high earners would be able to significantly reduce their tax bill through deductions, credits and loopholes.
It remains unclear, however, how solidly 50 Cent is in Trump’s camp, with the hip-hop artist responding to criticism of his rant by comedian and ex-girlfriend Chelsea Handler by tweeting, “F___ Donald Trump. I never liked him anyway.”
But another prominent recording artist, Michigan native Kid Rock, has long been a fan of the polarizing US head of state and even performed at one of the president’s campaign rallies in September in that key swing state.
In Hollywood, one of the biggest backers of the real-estate magnate-turned-politician is 81-year-old Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, who starred in “Heat” alongside Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and also appeared prominently in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Rainmaker.”
In a video recently posted on Twitter, Voight described Biden as “evil” and said that Trump “must win.”
“He will bring back the people’s trust. These leftists are not for the American people. It’s the biggest cover-up ever,” the actor said with an American flag in the background.
Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan’s ex-husband and an actor known for his roles in “The Right Stuff” and “Dragonheart,” defended Trump earlier this year amid attacks over his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think Trump, no matter what anybody thinks of him, is doing a good job at trying to get these states – and all of the American people – what they need, and also trying to hold our economy together and be prepared for when this is all over. I don’t want to get into petty arguments about it,” Quaid, a patient safety activist and self-described political independent, said in an interview in April with American opinion website The Daily Beast.
Actress Kirstie Alley, known internationally for her starring role in the wildly popular television sitcom “Cheers” and the romantic comedy film “Look Who’s Talking,” has been outspoken about her politics and recently tweeted her voting record dating back to 1972.
Although the 69-year-old actress used to consistently vote Democrat and cast her ballot for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, she confirmed that she backed Trump in 2016 and will do so again this year.
“I’m voting for @realDonaldTrump because he’s NOT a politician. I voted for him 4 years ago for this reason and shall vote for him again for this reason,” Alley tweeted earlier this month. “He gets things done quickly and he will turn the economy around quickly. There you have it folks there you have it,” Alley wrote.
Roseanne Barr, best known for her starring role in the successful 1990s TV sitcom “Roseanne,” has posted a photo on Twitter showing herself wearing a “Trump 2020” hat, while one of the actors on the popular medical drama TV series “Grey’s Anatomy,” Isaiah Washington, appeared in a promotional video for Trump’s re-election campaign.
Many actors, however, have paid a price for supporting Trump, with Kevin Sorbo (star of the 1990s TV series “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”) saying he has seen acting agencies refuse to work with conservatives.
Numerous famous Trump supporters who appear in the upcoming documentary film “Trump vs. Hollywood,” scheduled for a Dec. 14 release on digital platforms, say they have been blacklisted by the American movie industry but admit they cannot show definitive proof.
That film’s director, Daphne Barak, said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that actor Lorenzo Lamas is one of the few conservatives who has been working during the pandemic.
Lamas realized back in 2015 that he would be excluded from roles due to his support for then-candidate Trump and decided to acquire a pilot’s license, Barak said, adding that the former star of the hit 1980s soap opera “Falcon Crest” has been transporting medicine nationwide during the pandemic.