Despite it being fairly common knowledge that the entertainment industry tilts liberal—and that many people do not want to celebrate a man who they view as an odious demagogue who ran on a platform of fear and xenophobia all while getting away with critical levels of sexism—Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly still took it upon himself during his Tuesday night show to muse aloud about why on Earth people were not jumping at the chance to take part in such a hallowed American tradition. What a mystery!
His conclusion? “Reverse McCarthyism”—presumably a variation on the similarly mythical reverse racism. Mr. O’Reilly decided that Hollywood Hotshots are afraid of losing gigs and sales for performing, and that is the only reason they’re turning Trump down. He explained:
Remember that in the 1950s, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy started accusing people in Hollywood of being Communists. That led to a black list where people were not hired because McCarthy smeared them.
Today, it seems anti-Trump zealots may be doing the same thing. If you are a Trump supporter, you are a bad person, and a number of entertainers believe their careers will be harmed, should they associate with the new Trump administration.
Luckily, surprise voice of reason Charles Krauthammer soon appeared to remind O’Reilly that it’s more likely that these celebrities aren’t afraid of the anti-Trump backlash so much as they are anti-Trump. It’s not the fear that’s holding them back, it’s something that probably ranges from disappointment to disgust. When O’Reilly shot back that folks like Ricky Martin, Wayne Newton, and Jessica Simpson performed at George W. Bush’s inauguration, Krauthammer shot back, “Wayne Newton? Is that your A-list?”
Krauthammer went on to explain, “This is a republic…You are not summoned to perform for the king or for the dictator.” To which O’Reilly replied, “You—you don’t know anything about the Hollywood industries. They will perform for Joseph Stalin, OK, if they think it is going to help their career.”
And while O’Reilly invokes both “reverse McCarthyism” and Joseph Stalin in a refusal to understand that maybe celebrities aren’t being held political hostage by “anti-Trump zealots,” a lone tumbleweed bounces across the list of inauguration performers for Trump’s big party.