Celebrated singer and actor Pat Boone noted in a recent interview that conservative stars in Hollywood are wary of publicly discussing their personal politics for fear of public backlash.
“There used to be more of us,” the 84-year-old told The Hollywood Reporter Monday. “Tom Selleck, Jon Voight, Bruce Willis, who were outspoken, but they’ve been browbeaten and ridiculed, which is the main instrument on the left to shut us up.”
But Boone, who sold 45 million records in the ‘50s and ‘60s, told the magazine that he refuses to pipe down. In fact, he has made robocalls on behalf of John Cox for California governor as well as for representatives Dana Rohrabacher, also of California, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.
“We need a proven leader, a businessman in charge of California’s business, as we had before, in our best days,” Boone says in the robocall for Cox. “Yup. In the mold of Ronald Reagan.”
Rohrabacher told The Hollywood Reporter Boone’s willingness to speak out has decisively strengthened his run.
“If I win in a squeaker, Pat Boone will have made the difference,” he said. “I’m being outspent 10-1 because of billionaire leftists, but I’d rather have Pat. He’s the most beloved Hollywood figure over 60 years old. He’s trustworthy. He gives me credibility with that demographic.”
In June, former “Home Improvement” child star Zachery Ty Bryan told “Fox & Friends” that many would be surprised to learn of the amount of anonymous conservative celebrities that don’t talk much about their stance.
“Surprisingly, there are a lot more conservatives in Hollywood than you would expect,” said Bryan, who is now 37 years old. “They stay more anonymous.”
Bryan added that the political divide in Hollywood reminds him of high school cliques.
“The party of tolerance and acceptance is only accepting if you agree with them,” he said.
Boon and Bryan aren’t the only ones voicing their concerns about how more right-leaning entertainers are being mistreated due to their political views.
John Schneider, who rose to fame as Bo Duke in “Dukes of Hazzard” from 1979 until 1985, claimed that not enough actors have “come out of the Republican closet.”
“I do think there’s a bias against conservatives, Republicans, in Hollywood… [But] if you believe it, speak it, live it,” the 58-year-old told Fox News in June.
Schneider went on to say that no matter your political stance, it’s important to support the president regardless for the sake of our country.
“I supported the last president [even though]I didn’t vote for him, but I supported him because I believe that’s my duty as a United States citizen,” he said, referring to President Barack Obama. “The difference here is that I did vote [for Trump]and I don’t mind people knowing that.”
Tim Allen, whose openly conservative “Last Man Standing” returned to Fox after being canceled by ABC in May 2016, said during a PaleyFest panel earlier this year that, as of late, he’s had to be cautious when it comes to his jokes.
“You don’t know what you’re going to say to offend people,” said Allen, 65. “It is really like dancing on the thinnest ice. I’ve been in the comedy world for 30 years as a comic and there’s nothing more dangerous right now for all of the comics I know, what we can and cannot say. I don’t like being told what I can and cannot say and who’s telling me what I can’t do.”
In September 2017 “Eyes Wide Shut” actress Julienne Davis told Fox News one of the riskiest decisions of her life was coming out “of the conservative closet.”
“Since then I haven’t fared well,” she said. “My ‘unfriendings’ on social media have been many – from acquaintances and close working associates to good friends – including even my best friend. It is interesting to note that all of them just stopped calling and quietly ‘ghosted’ me, and then later unfriended me. Unfriendings aside, the written and very public insults from Hollywood peers on social media and elsewhere have been numerous. I’ve been attacked with obscenities, called a racist, and had one person tell me he hoped I would die.”
Some agree being vocal about their conservative views can put their careers at risk. In October 2017, just weeks after James Woods revealed he was blacklisted in Hollywood because of his conservative beliefs, the Oscar-nominated actor said he was retiring from the industry.
He claimed being a proud conservative made it difficult for him to find work in Hollywood.
Woods was a Democrat until at least 1998 when he broke ranks with the party after former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. He declared on Twitter that he switched parties because of his disgust with the former president.
“Every single #Democrat without exception stood behind a convicted perjurer,” tweeted the 71-year-old. “That was the end.” Woods added there are many conservative stars who don’t speak up because “the blacklist against conservatives in Hollywood is very real.”
And actors could lose more than work in Hollywood for speaking out. In 2016, John Rhys-Davies, best known for his role as Gimli in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, told Fox News his views have cost him friends.
“I know there are certain people in Hollywood who would not work with me because I have said things that are not PC,” the 74-year-old told Fox News. “I have lost friends and that saddens me.”
Davies added he feels it is the actors’ responsibility to explore other beliefs and to constantly question, which can actually enhance their performances when taking on a variety of roles that are different from their real-life personas. Instead, Davies claimed many of his actor friends believe their political opinion is the only right one.
“I love my fellow actors but sometimes I think that their opinions are wrong,” he explained. “True art asks uncomfortable questions and if you find yourself agreeing with everyone around you all the time, you should wonder what your significance as a citizen and as an artist is. But that’s not really important. What matters is that a civilization is kept alive and vital by debate.”
While not all conservative celebrities have lost work due to their political views, one Hollywood star did originally share other actors are afraid to reveal their beliefs — a warning that still resonates with some performers today.
“There is a group of people in Hollywood that are conservative, but by the nature of the word itself, they’re just reticent to speak out,” Clint Eastwood, now 88, told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity in 2012, as reported by Deadline.com.
“And they’re reticent because they feel that they’ll maybe lose work, or they’ll be chastised in some way for having political views,” added the Oscar-winner.
Eastwood, who was a public supporter of Mitt Romney at the time, said that despite the media scrutiny he faced for being outspoken, he didn’t regret it.
“That’s good if it makes the right people angry, and good, that’ll wake them up a little bit,” he said.