Published June 11, 2013
LOS ANGELES – Revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been secretly logging the phone and Internet activity of millions of Americans has caused a rift between President Obama and several of his Hollywood supporters.
Actor and liberal activist John Cusack tweaked the administration, tweeting “Prism the name for electronic prison – all have to wear lojacks,” in reference to the PRISM data mining program revealed in leaks by former NSA employee Edward Snowden last week.
Cusack also re-tweeted “Obama is becoming the next Nixon.”
Prominent writer/director Judd Apatow of “Knocked Up” fame also took to Twitter to blast the administration: “What is this, North Korea? We are so inundated with so much info and so many problems – we have given up caring."
Apatow also drew attention to reports on the scandal, calling it "an outrageous breach of the privacy and rights of American citizens.”
Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore also hopped on the bandwagon, tweeting “the administration has now lost all credibility” while spotlighting a 2007 Obama quote: “that means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more (spying) on citizens... No more tracking citizens..."
Some media critics called the celebrities' about face a welcome change.
“I am encouraged to see the Hollywood left is starting to dish out some bipartisan criticism. Now, the NSA scandal under the Obama administration has many feeling betrayed by a Democrat who promised more transparency and less intrusion,” political blogger and author Thomas Moyer told FOX411 Pop Tarts column. “Further, it hits a lot closer to home when you find out that your personal phone records are being monitored, something that scares a lot of people.”
But some left-leaners in Hollywood had no problem with the administration's reported actions. Liberal comedian and HBO host Bill Maher praised both the tapping, and Obama’s handling of the growing scandal, during his program Friday night.
“I’m okay with it now that Obama is in office. I’m kind of trusting of him,” he said. “We live in a world of nuclear weapons. And there are religious fanatics who would love to get one and set if off here… The fact that a city can be demolished in one second kinda tips the scale for me. I’m not saying to look into your emails is the right thing, I’m just saying, I’m not gonna pretend it’s ‘cause I’m brave, it’s ‘cause I’m scared.”
And Chrissy Teigen, best known for posing in swimsuits for Sports Illustrated and being engaged to singer John Legend, also dismissed the issue on Monday.
“On NSA: I’m most shocked you’re shocked,” she wrote. “Although I understand why you’re upset, I personally could not care less.”
The Guardian broke the story late Wednesday that the federal government was collecting phone call records from Verizon customers.
The Guardian and the Washington Post followed with a series of reports about the calls being taken from other telecommunications companies and that the NSA and FBI have a Internet scouring program, code-named PRISM, that records Internet activities, all part of a post-9/11 effort to thwart terrorism.