On what planet are our elites living where they believe they can shut down people’s livelihoods indefinitely while allowing our betters to keep making mad dollars?
In college, I was fortunate to attend a seminar with two-time Oscar Winner William Goldman, author and screenwriter of The Princess Bride. Mr. Goldman was asked how an aspiring filmmaker might get ahead in the business, and he responded by saying it wasn’t easy getting in. The list of the top ten nastiest people in Hollywood was so long, someone had to die to get on it. The list of the top ten nicest people was only four names: Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Henry Winkler, and Ron Howard.
This past week, however, even Tom Cruise has apparently had enough.
On the set of Mission: Impossible 7, the world’s biggest action star unloaded on two crew members for failing to properly follow coronavirus protocols, unleashing a profanity filled tirade. “I don’t ever want to see it again — ever!” he shouts in an audio recording made public this past Tuesday by the Sun. “If I see you do it again, you’re f— gone…That’s it! No apologies. You can tell it to the people that are losing their f— homes because our industry is shut down.”
“We are the gold standard,” Cruise screams. “They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us! I’m on the phone with every f— studio at night, insurance companies, producers,” the actor continues, “and they’re looking at us and using us to make their movies. We are creating thousands of jobs…We are not shutting this motherf— movie down. Is that understood?”
George Clooney provided a little more context throughout the industry, telling Howard Stern after Cruise’s tirade went public, “He didn’t overreact, because it is a problem. I have a friend who is an AD on another TV show who almost had the same thing happen, with not quite as far out a response.”
Clooney continued, “I wouldn’t have done it that big, I wouldn’t have pulled people out. You’re in a position of power. It’s tricky, you do have a responsibility for everyone and he’s absolutely right about that. If the production goes down a lot of people lose their jobs. People have to understand that and be responsible. It’s just not my style to take everybody to task that way.”
As Cruise has apparently invested $700,000 of his own money to get the production started again after shutting down at least twice earlier this year, I can sympathize with his frustration. It’s a difficult situation, and the production can certainly be halted for failure to comply with the restrictions, costing jobs and dollars.
But you know who else we should sympathize with much more easily than rich movie stars?
Everyone of the small business owners, particularly in lockdown states, who are suffering far worse than Tom Cruise and George Clooney, normal people without the political connections and the clout of their celebrity status. The movie industry may be back in business with some tedious restrictions on their operations, but hundreds of thousands of other family owned enterprises aren’t and yet the media often fails to see the obvious disparity and irony.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “it felt good to hear Tom Cruise get angry about COVID-10 safety.” Mary McNamara opined, “all I want to know is: Can we put it on some sort of national emergency broadcast loop?” She continues, “maybe it’s time to drop the whole ‘Hey, come on, we’re all in this together’ approach in favor of the ‘if I see it again you are gone, motherf—’ approach.”
Ms. McNamara, however, writes for a publication located in ground zero of our current two Americas approach to coronavirus. A couple of weeks ago Los Angeles County shutdown even outdoor dining, despite no evidence of the activity being a significant vector of coronavirus spread, forcing restaurants to close their doors, perhaps permanently.
Angela Marsden is the owner of the Pineapple Hill Grill & Saloon in Sherman Oaks, California. She explains in a viral YouTube video how her restaurant was completely shuttered even after she’s invested money in a tent and suitable furniture for outdoor dining.
“So this is my place, the Pineapple Hill Grill & Saloon. If you go to my [Facebook] page you can see all the work I did for outdoor dining, for tables being seven feet apart,” she explains. “Those tables have since been shut down, but right next to them are much larger tents for a much larger crowd for a movie production…I’m losing everything. Everything I own is being taken away from me and they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio.”
If you search the Los Angeles Times website, there are no articles or opinions on her plight. Coverage overall has been light with only a handful of stories in major media outlets outside of Fox News. NBC News even deceptively edited the video because the catering in question was for one of their own shows.
According to the Media Research Center, “Reporter Meagan Fitzgerald deceptively edited out Marsden pointing to the hypocrisy with the tents and tables. Worse yet, NBC covered up the fact that the catering was for NBC’s comedy show, ‘Good Girls.’”
Some have called it, lockdowns for thee, but not for me.
Whatever pithy phrase you choose, it’s a sad reality that in many states big business with political connections continues apace while small business suffers. Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, and the other big box stores haven’t been closed for a single day, serving hundreds of people, but in New York City a restaurant owner can’t have indoor dining at even 25% capacity, even though indoor dining was only associated with 1.4% of the overall spread.
Amazon, meanwhile, is seating employees in their cafeterias, the equivalent of indoor dining.
Sadly, the political class has been as derelict as much of the media. Congress has failed to act on any meaningful coronavirus relief since the CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, almost nine months ago. Back then, we were still on 15 days to slow the spread. Now, even if reports of the vaccine roll out prove accurate, we will be looking at more than a year to finally stop the spread.
Throughout it all, small businesses, blue collar workers, and those who aren’t named Tom Cruise have repeatedly gotten the shaft. The CARES Act provided funding for 2 months worth of loans, but many of the businesses lucky enough to receive the funds still haven’t been able to operate at full capacity all these months later.
As Congress supposedly readies another relief package, surely a day late and a dollar short, people have had enough and I can’t blame them
The website, Eater Los Angeles reports, “Call it lockdown fatigue or lack of faith in government, the overall sentiment throughout the region is one of desperation. Restaurant owners are at a tipping point with the restrictions, especially now that they’ve pivoted their operations multiple times between takeout, delivery, indoor dining, outdoor dining, almost always with limited capacities each time. Those maneuvers often mean spending thousands on mandated personal protective gear and amped-up outdoor dining areas, only to then be told to close — without being helped much financially, if at all.”
The report continues, “On Saturday, restaurant and bar owners and regular diners showed up at LA County supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s Santa Monica home to protest the closure of outdoor dining across the county. Their presence was also in response to Kuehl’s perceived double-standard, when she was seen dining at Santa Monica’s Il Forno only hours after casting a vote to eliminate outdoor dining throughout the county.”
Lockdowns for thee, not for me.
We see similar stories of individuals defying restrictions in my home state of New Jersey, New York, and others from around the world, prompting me to wonder: On what planet are our elites living where they believe they can shut down people’s livelihoods indefinitely while allowing our betters to keep making mad dollars? What do they expect people to do, crawl under a rock until it’s over while they raid the country for cash?
The Los Angeles Times took the wrong message from Cruise’s rant. It’s not about taking coronavirus seriously. Everyone with a half a brain is doing that already. It’s about the consequences of being shut down. In that regard, we should all be screaming “We are not shutting this motherf— down. Is that understood?”