This week, the City of West Hollywood council joined in the gratuitous insults and derogatory that has come to characterize our politics on both sides. The city council unanimously voted to ask Los Angeles and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to remove President Donald Trump’s star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star has been repeatedly vandalized in recent weeks. In the meantime,Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that Austin Clay, 24, was charged with vandalism for destroying Trump’s star last month. He used a pickaxe.
The move is part of the shrill partisanship that has been embraced by politicians eager to outdo each other in appealing to the most extreme voices in their respective parties.
Mayor John Duran attempted to spin the gratuitous insult as some type of public service in a rather transparent interview with CNN: “The West Hollywood City Council did not pass the resolution because Donald Trump is a conservative or a Republican. Earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is an honor. When one belittles and attacks minorities, immigrants, Muslims, people with disabilities or women — the honor no longer exists.”
That sounds a lot like disagreeing with Trump’s policies and appealing to his critics.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce makes the decisions about the Walk of Fame.
This is not the first such controversy but conflicts usually occur over the decision to award a star — not some retroactive decision to remove one. For example, in 1958, Charlie Chaplin was supposed to be among the initial group of 500 stars but was rejected due to his prosecution for violating the Mann Act. In 1972, his star was awarded (Chaplin had earlier been acquitted of the Mann Act charge). Likewise, opera singer Paul Robeson was barred due to his political views, but later in 1972 given his star.
At the time, many were outraged by barring the communist Robeson and insisted at the time that a person’s political views should not be considered in recognizing a career in entertainment. Yet, many now want to do the same thing to Trump, retroactively, based on his politics. They cannot have it both ways. Either the stars are awarded solely on the basis of an entertainment career or they are capricious recognitions based on the popularity of performers and their respective views.
If we are going to engage in retroactive evaluations based on people’s political or legal history, we could have a lot of space on the walk. Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was accused of murder. Errol Flynn was known as a serial pedophile. Roseanne Barr just had her show taken away due to racist remarks. Bill Crosby is facing jail for sexual assaults going back over a decade. Thomas Edison is now viewed as anti-Semitic. Both Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey are accused of sexual misconduct. Robert Wagner is still suspected in the killing of his wife and actress, Natalie Wood. The list goes on and on. They can continually reexamine or remove stars or leave the stars as solely based on a person’s contributions to the arts and entertainment.
What do you think?