Poor, poor celebrities

Poor, poor celebrities
: A Hollywood Reporter column takes the stars’ side, defending anti-war celebs against suggestions, such as those in yesterday’s Page Six, that fans boycott their products.

The Page Six “quick reference list” of entertainers whose careers readers might wish to harm includes Tim Robbins, Sean Penn and Laurence Fishburne — who co-star in the upcoming movie “Mystic River.”

The paper called it “the mother of all appeasement casts” but did not explain why readers might also wish to harm the careers of others involved in the production. There is no article of particulars alleging insufficient patriotism on the part of “Mystic River” co-stars Marcia Gay Harden or Laura Linney.

One wonders whether the column’s writers even bothered to learn that the movie was directed by the reliably conservative Clint Eastwood. By the way, a boycott would harm Eastwood directly in the pocketbook — since he also co-produced the movie through his own production company, Malpaso Productions.

It’s a little hard to take seriously oh-poor-Clint arguments but that aside — and my distaste for boycotts in general aside as well — the Hollyfool Reporter misses the point:

Stars are by all means free to say what they think. But when they do so, they might affect their image — their brand, as we like to say these days. If you like a star and like his or her personality and product, you plunk down money to see or hear what that star creates. If you don’t like the star, you might just stop. The star falls out of favor. It’s not necessarily a matter of politics. It can be how you treat your spouse or kids or costars. It can be wrinkles. It can be a bad waste-of-my-money movie. Woody Allen’s fall had nothing to do with politics; he acted like a louse and made bad movies. His fall isn’t the result of a boycott. Michael Jackson’s fall has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with how he acts. But as soon as the public stops liking these stars, they fall and so does their income. Comes with the territory called Hollywood.

So when a Dixie Chick or a Sarandon chick or a Garofalo chick does or says something their audiences don’t like, they risk turning off their audiences. It’s their right to say it or not; it’s the audience’s right to like them or not. That’s not a boycott. That’s showbiz.