LOS ANGELES – This week, actor James Woods took to Twitter to criticize President Obama amid the government slimdown and also said he now expects to struggle to find work in left-leaning Los Angeles. So is Woods on target, or just paranoid?
According to Mell Flynn, President of the Hollywood Congress of Republicans, discrimination against Republicans in Hollywood indeed runs rampant.
“I have known quite a few people who were let go from a job after they made their political affiliation known. Maybe it was a coincidence, but I doubt it. This type of discrimination is hard to prove though, especially where actors are concerned,” she told FOX411. “They just won't get hired or even called in to read for a part.”
Producer Gary Michael Walters noted that “outspokenness can definitely be held against someone's career prospects” in the largely liberal land of entertainment, and another show business insider told us that a director friend won’t take on any conservative-type projects for fear of not getting work.
“I have a prominent actress friend who lives in holy terror of losing her position on a TV show if she is outed as a born-again Christian and conservative,” another source told us.
Early last year, Kelsey Grammer scooped a Golden Globe for his performance in the Starz series “Boss,” and at the after-party boasted to us that being a Republican was “easy” for him “because [he] was such a revolutionary” and refused to be told what to do. Yet several months later it seems Grammer had a change of heart after he was surprisingly snubbed for an Emmy nomination.
“I’m a declared out-of-the-closet Republican in Hollywood,” he told Jay Leno. “Do I believe it’s possible that some young person, young voting actor – or even older voting member for the Emmys – would sit there and go, ‘yeah, that’s a great performance but ooooooooh, I just hate everything he stands for?”
And not long after Obama’s first swoop into the White House, actress Angie Harmon told us that she was left with the “racist” label for vocalizing her disappointment in the Democratic leader, and claimed that she had been rejected for jobs over the years due to her right-of-center views.
“The Hollywood names who advocate acceptance are the first to shut the door on a conservative,” observed Angie Meyer Olszewski, who has worked in publicity for both entertainment and political sectors. “But Republicans are finding their voice. They’ve had enough.”
A couple of months ago, “Patridge Family” mom and proud conservative Shirley Jones told FOX411 that while “it’s pretty bad here” as “they’re all Democrats” she doesn’t feel as though going against the political grain hurt her career. “I didn’t care one bit about that stuff,” she said. “I do my thing my way, if you don’t like it then tough!”
And earlier this month, life-long liberal supporter Rob Schneider, 50, happily declared his political party switch, citing the mess that the State of California is in, and how the Democratic majority is no longer serving the people.
“Dozens of Republicans have come out of the closet recently with no repercussions,” insisted producer Mark Joseph, a self-proclaimed registered independent. “That wasn’t always the case. It’s a healthy thing. We need more diversity in all areas in Hollywood if we’re going to better serve our consumers.”
Some industry experts have even gone as far as to say that the so-called GOP discrimination is pretty much a myth.
Last year, the former head of MGM and powerful Hollywood Republican, and former member of President Reagan’s Advisory Committee, Harry Sloan wrote in the Hollywood Reporter that he has never actually heard of GOP bias actually happening.
But one “Clueless” star Stacey Dash came under enormous attack in the Twitterverse last year when she dared endorse GOP candidate Mitt Romney for the Presidency – yet she told us just weeks ago that not a single person has challenged her political views to her face, and work is going great in terms of developing her own television projects, mobile apps and inking a book deal.
And then there’s the likes of Gary Sinise, a devout GOP-er who is deemed one of the most respected TV actors as a star on the long-running “CSI: NY,” as well as Patricia Heaton who has managed to keep her job on the ABC sitcom “The Middle.” And of course there’s Clint Eastwood, a conservative Republican who has not only held a position in public office for his party but yelled at a chair during the Republican National Convention last year – yes, he is still working and yes, he is still pretty celebrated.
“The growth of alternative media has encouraged more stars like Stacey Dash and James Woods to be open about their beliefs,” added Dan Gainor, VP of Business and Culture at the Media Research Center. “They know the risks [of possible work ramifications] but take them bravely.”