Celebrity activists change little in politics


Creative Commons courtesy of DoD News

Eminem performs at the Concert for Valor, and is among the artists who criticize Trump.

Vaughn Battista

Recently, celebrities have been more active in our current political climate. Whether it’s Eminem’s attack on Trump during the BET Hip Hop Awards or Meryl Streep criticizing the president during her Golden Globes speech, many have been voicing their political opinions.

But very few actually contribute anything to the discussion itself. A vast majority of celebrities political opinions boil down to their distaste towards Trump, and considering how low his approval ratings are, they aren’t exactly breaking any new ground. While celebrities have been more active in the political sphere, they haven’t actually done much with their platforms other than voice standard liberal views.

There’s nothing wrong with this, but considering this political activism is a stretch. To their credit, many have done philanthropic work. Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation donated over $20 million in environmental grants according to Variety, and George Lucas gave a majority of the $4.5 billion he gained from selling Lucasfilm to charity, as reported by Forbes. But in the realm of politics, celebrities have done very little.

Most of the political work of celebrities has been either supporting Democratic candidates, promoting Democratic ideas or criticizing President Trump. The problem with this is that it has done little to change anyone’s actual opinions. Trump’s approval ratings are currently at less than 40 percent, and no celebrity has had any significant effect on this. After Eminem’s Trump freestyle, Trump’s approval ratings only shifted by 0.1 percent over the next two days, as reported by FiveThirtyEight. The reaction to it has been the same as every other celebrity speech: conservative commentators like Tomi Lahren have criticized his performance and liberal outlets like CNN praised him in their articles.

This is the inherent problem of the political “activism” of celebrities: it does nothing. It simply adds another voice into an echo chamber that doesn’t change the political discussion in any way. Their opinions lack any nuance or even a call for action. So, do celebrities really engage in political activism? Sure, if saying what over half of Americans already say in no special or unique way is activism.