Hollywood trade paper Variety has taken a rather compelling look at the effect that celebrities have on political issues in the Beltway, especially since the ascension of the Obama Administration.
The piece notes that Brad Pitt, Richard Gere, Paul Simon, Bono, Julianne Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Tony Bennett, Michael J. Fox, George Clooney and a reunited West Wing cast, among others (whew!), have all recently met with elected officials and policy makers on myriad issues ranging from children’s health insurance and whale protection to stem cell research and, unsurprisingly, ensuring performer royalties.
This article is an in depth look at the various “causes and effects” that these types of relationships have and how they shape activism and policy. There is much to be said on the power of celebrity and the changing landscape of political influence.
Variety says that “The stream of stars to the Hill has had the ironic effect of raising the bar on what merits the attention of lawmakers and the media, putting extra pressure on Hollywood figures and their advocacy orgs to be savvier about how they approach a capital [sic] that’s been inundated by efforts to ‘raise awareness.’” A very valid point to be sure, especially here in the green gossip world. It will interesting to see how celebrity lobbying evolves in the next few years.
Whether you’re star-struck or a star power skeptic, this article is really worth a read.