Dear Hollywood: Stop Trying to Embrace Problematic Figures Like Sean Spicer
By: Kayla Pasacreta
When the Emmy's roll around, I do my best to keep up with the latest highly-acclaimed shows, actors, directors, and writers. I am always excited to see the best talent receive well-deserved accolades. However, this year, the Emmy's messed up bigly by giving a literal platform to former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
When Sean Spicer and a faux White House podium appeared on the stage, many people in the audience gasped with disbelief; some also laughed. Sean Spicer took the stage to make an uncomfortable, um, joke. In attempts to make fun of himself, Spicer said, "This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period,” If you didn't get the joke, it's because it isn't funny. Spicer is referring to one of his first, most embarrassing acts as the White House Press Secretary. On January 21st, one day after the Inauguration, Spicer used his stage as the White House Press Secretary to bash media reporting of the inauguration. Since his boss was displeased with photos that showed a rather humble crowd size, Spicer disputed hardcore evidence, photos, numbers, and analyses from crowd-size experts. So, naturally, he spewed out a lie, and declared Trump's inauguration size was the largest in history:
This isn't a joke. The man representing the President of the United States got up on such an important podium to spew out a blatant lie to the American people. This was just one example of Sean Spicer stopping at nothing in attempts to appease the very problematic administration he was apart of. Even though he resigned in July, he does not get to have a TV career and use award shows to seem charismatic, funny, or cute. But still, actors and actresses posed with Spicer, hung out with him backstage, and shared laughs together. Heck, James Corden, host of The Late Night Show with James Corden, even posed for a picture with Spicer and kissed him on his cheek.
This sort of dismissal for decency is exactly what worked to get Trump elected. During his announcement to run for President, Trump spoke about building a wall, which he declared was necessary for the influx of "rapists" and "criminals" Mexico was bringing. People across the world were equally shocked and in disbelief that someone considering themselves a contender for the Presidency would use such divisive, stereotypical language. Many brushed Trump's candidacy as a joke; something that would never really come into fruition.
But it did. And the media had a field day with it. Covering every outrageous tweet, statement, or gaffe made by Trump, there wasn't a day that went by without Trump being able to get out his message of white supremacists from near and far. He got to hopeless white people who found comfort in their whiteness, no matter how poor or uneducated they were. The media coverage of Trump brought attention for the masses, and leaded the way to him ultimately winning an election he was by all accounts not supposed to win.
The Emmy's aren't the first people in Hollywood to attempt to humanize outrageous figures. Jimmy Fallon brought Trump to his show to interview him (why?), joked around with Trump, and even lovingly tousled his hair. Trevor Noah brought on Conservative pundit Tomi Lahren for a heated debate about the Black Lives Matter movement, in which the two passionately argued about the purpose and morality of the movement. Though the interview generated thousands of shares and appreciation for Noah for saying what so many of us had on our mind, Noah sent Lahren cupcakes a day after the interview surfaced. Cupcakes - to a woman who had just went on national TV and passionately argued that Black Lives Matter is a racist, terroist organization.
These questionable decisions to shrug off racism, sexism, and xenophobia in exchange for a funny interview are deeply irresponsible. Though the intentions may not be inherently malicious, celebrity figures need to think more about the consequences of continuing to give Trump and people who advocate for him a national stage.Nothing about the Trump Administration is funny or cute. Nothing about the lives and future of women, immigrants, black people, LGBT people, and poor people being at stake is funny. There is nothing funny about an administration that constantly makes up their own truth, whether its about "alternative facts" or crowd sizes.
Hollywood, do better.