Could teens’ political opinions be affected by Hollywood?

Delaney O'Sullivan, Staff Writer

Hollywood is known for being very liberal, in fact, some may say those that reside on the Hollywood hillside are proud of their liberal stances. They are very open when it comes to their political beliefs and biases. But do these have an impact on student’s opinions? Some celebrities have used their platforms to advocate, call out politicians, and urge fans to use their voices.
“I think any opinionated leader, which Hollywood has a lot of can be very influential with their platform and the media base they have in helping shape the minds of anyone which includes students and young people,” said Dan Shuman, government teacher and the politics club sponsor.
In Hollywood’s history, both Democratic and Republican celebrities have used their platforms to convey political ideology.
At the rise of modern entertainment, a labor slogan became popularized.
“Eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, and eight hours for what we will.” This is a mantra used in Hollywood during the early labor movement, aimed particularly at the working-class. This slogan gave a voice to working Americans.
Modern Hollywood may be liberal, but it has not always been that way. Ayn Rand, an actress and a member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals wanted to regulate left-wing politics and ideas in movies. One of many Republicans in Hollywood, Rand believed films could influence others.
“I definitely think there’s places where they insert their opinion and that kind of rubs off on younger children who aren’t fully developed. It also has had a major impact on me,” said junior Noah Maldonado.
Frank Sinatra worked for the Democratic Party and helped Franklin Delano Roosevelt reelection campaign in 1937.
Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan had many supporters in Hollywood. Reagan was an actor before he became president, so Hollywood was familiarized with him. They worked hard to reach athletes, singers, performers and other influential people. Nixon knew this was a way to reach young voters.
“I guess seeing SNL and how they portray people, it makes me angry how stupid everyone seems but then I go out and read it so I guess it makes me want to be more informed and know what’s going on,” said senior Zoe Espinosa. “But I don’t like a certain thing because that’s what my favorite celebrity is supporting, but it doesn’t hurt that I got an email from Mark Ruffalo because I am a part of Bernie’s campaign.”
Many celebrities, like Mark Ruffalo have endorsed presidential candidates this election by sending messages through the campaign’s email.
According to the Washington Post, fifty seven percent of thespians live in New York or California and both are very blue states. Over fifty percent of performers have a bachelor’s degree. Fifty four percent of college graduates identify as Democrat as compared to thirty nine percent for Republicans.
Many actors also belong to unions. These include the Screen Actor’s Guild and the Actors’ Equity Association. Joining a union helps protect the actors and secure a safe working environment. In the past, Democrats have supported unions and Republicans have not.
Many conservative celebrities have spoken out and supported the Republican party. These include celebrities like Mike Ditka and Kelly Clarkson. They have discussed elections and candidates. Actor Clint Eastwood even spoke at the 2012 Republican National convention in Tampa, Florida.
On the other hand, there are a multitude of famous Democrats as well. These include Beyoncé, Ellen DeGeneres, and Leonardo DiCaprio. They use their voices to advance the Democratic principles.
And some celebrities have held public office. Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger who starred in over 34 films and shows in his acting career, was the governor of California from 2003 through 2011. President Donald Trump held his own television show, “The Apprentice.”
There are many experts who have written articles expressing the importance of forming individual opinions. In an article from Life Hack titled, “8 Ways to Think and Develop Your Own Opinion,” writer Gia Ganesh, career coach, gives tips on how to do research and form an opinion. A few important steps include experience new people, places, and things; expose yourself to new ideas; and get the facts before deciding.