Larry Elder: Hollywood face-slaps Conservatives

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Goodness! What a night.

During the live broadcast of the Academy Awards, actor Will Smith walked up to the stage and face-slapped comedian Chris Rock. When Smith returned to his seat, he unleashed a profanity-laced tirade — muted by the show’s producer — at Rock.

What did Rock do to warrant the attack? He told a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. “Jada, I love ya,” Rock said. “‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it.” The original film stars Demi Moore, with a shaved head, playing a Navy special operations trainee. Rock’s joke referred to Pinkett Smith’s shaven head due to hair loss caused by alopecia, a condition she publicly revealed years ago. Rock claimed he knew nothing about her condition.

Whether Rock knew or not, the crack did not justify a slap to the face. Rock is, after all, a comedian. He tells jokes. He was doing his job. In fact, immediately after the joke, a camera shot showed Smith laughing. But he quickly found that his wife was not amused, thus the attack.

Just before the slap, Rock joked about husband-and-wife actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, both of whom were nominated for awards. Rock joked that there might be marital discord if Bardem won, and Cruz did not. Bardem did not storm the stage.

That night, hosts and presenters took shots at Florida for its supposed “don’t say gay” bill, actually a commonsense law that prevents teachers from teaching sexuality to kindergartners and first, second and third graders. Even liberal Bill Maher recently said, “Maybe kids that young shouldn’t be thinking about sex at all.” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell got slammed for something, most likely for being a Senate Republican leader.

This Oscar night, hosts and presenters prided themselves on their customary racial and ethnic diversity, inclusion and equity, while demonstrating special sensitivity for gay people and for the deaf community. This sensitivity, however, only applies to liberal gay people, liberal members of the deaf community and liberal racial and ethnic minorities.

How does it feel to be a young, religious, pro-life actor or behind-the-camera Hollywood worker, no matter their race, gender or sexual orientation, who must remain in the ideological closet for fear that their views mean career suicide? Hollywood prides itself on embracing the underdog, the scorned, the downtrodden. But that empathy does not apply to political conservatives who must hide their views or risk career cancellation.

Rapper Snoop Dogg, with 20 million Twitter followers, has referred to black conservatives, including commentator and author Candace Owens, as a “Coon Bunch.” The aforementioned Smith denounced me in a 2005 rap song called “Mr. Niceguy”:

“Why, if I were gay on Friday night I’d…

“Larry Elder — Uncle Tom?

“You’re lucky I ain’t make you the whole damn rhyme.”

Sorry, I don’t consider myself a victim of a systemically racist country. I don’t believe cops engage in institutional racial profiling. I reject critical race theory and climate change alarmism. I believe taxes are too high, regulations too severe and government too big. I support secure borders, am pro-life, God-fearing and advocate school choice. I believe that Republicans can question the judicial philosophy of black female Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson just as the Democrats did with conservative black female U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit nominee Janice Rogers Brown.

For this, conservatives are considered, by Hollywood types like Smith, a human disease whose views are not worthy of debate.

I can take it. I’ve put up with intolerant nitwits all my life. My Jim Crow-surviving Republican Marine father and my strong native Alabama mother instilled in me an unshakable confidence to be who and what I am. But how many black kids, right now, endure schoolyard taunts, even bullying — encouraged by influencers like Snoop Dogg and Will Smith — for the sins of “acting white” by studying hard, speaking standard English or being ambitious and career-oriented?

Where, Hollywood, is the love for those outcasts?

Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host. His latest book, “The New Trump Standard,” is available in paperback from and for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and Google Play.


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