Actors? Social Activists? Or Both?

Julie H. Jordan

There has been a lot of speculation over whether actors and actresses should be publicly voicing support for the “#Metoo” movement, which started as a way of raising awareness to the pervasive sexual harassment (or worse) in our society.  Many believe that entertainers should do just that, entertain, and stay out of social or political commentary.

I have heard several people I know say that they didn’t watch the Golden Globes because they didn’t care to see actors grandstanding.  I believe that entertainers not only have the right to express their opinions on this matter but also, have a responsibility to do so. Words have an impact, especially when they are coming from those who are well-known.  

While the argument could be made that speaking out is not a part of an actor’s role in society, I would beg to differ.  Those that have access to a public forum have the responsibility to speak out against injustice. Of course, it is important that all of us do that, but the number of people that can be reached with the message, when it is spoken out by one of celebrity, is far greater than can be reached by the average person.  

To say nothing or do nothing when change needs to be made is inhumane.  When you are a person who can reach millions with a need for reform, knowing that many others are watching and listening, it is important you do what you can to, at the very least, raise awareness.

The world created by an actor, whether onstage or onscreen, is merely an illusion, as we all know. There is a difference between the character and the actor as a person.  Why, then, do some of us object when the personal side of the actor is revealed to right a wrong, especially when that actor can affect positive change?

Rather than lambast these individuals, we should be thanking them for helping to bring such inequity to light.