DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published on Odyssey.
There are many articles out there from people saying celebrities should not speak their political views. I want to start by bluntly stating what I think about Eminem’s political views: I do not care. I do not listen to his music and I do not care about his opinions. I did not even know he grew a beard; that is how little I pay attention to him.
Celebrities, in general, do not appeal to me. As far as I am concerned, Eminem is responsible for his own mouth. If he loses LGBT and female listeners because of his lyrics, then that is his problem.
I can understand if some of you wrote that Eminem should not try to cause a riot or incite any form of violence in that Glasgow concert where attendees were chanting “F*ck Trump.” I also understand that Eminem has his own brand of hypocrisy.
But that is not where it stopped.
Rather these articles segued into how celebrities should not share their political views at all. What does it imply to me when someone shares that sentiment? I can only interpret it as telling them that their ONLY purpose in their professional lives is to not even entertain but SERVE people.
I’m sorry, but creative people like musicians owe you nothing. The same goes for the other way around. You are not being forced to listen to Eminem.
When Ted Nugent and Toby Keith say conservative stuff at their concerts, I do not demand that they keep their political views to themselves and just keep making their music. It is a childish response. Of course, I will roll my eyes, but I am not going to whine about how their conservative rhetoric is dividing this country (and yes, Ted Nugent has also said incendiary stuff in the past).
What if celebrities’ political views were subtle in their music or whatever product they put out? Would they still need to shut up? Not only that but if anyone aspired to become a musician or celebrity, should HIS/HER political views be kept silent?
Those articles tended to include “the rest of us.” Who are “the rest of us?” They most certainly do not speak on my behalf. I want nothing to do with their little squabble with a musician who probably will never even read our articles.
The only reason I am writing this response is not that I want to defend Eminem or tip-toe around his notoriety but defend his right to criticize the president.
Trump has also said divisive things and yet these articles focused on “anti-Trump speech,” when there are so many worse insults, that border with defamation, that a human being can call someone than a “motherf*cker.” Also, Eminem did not insult Trump supporters, just Trump himself.
I understand that there are groups like Antifa and people at the University of Berkeley who want to obstruct free speech by saying that conservative icons should not have a right to speak. At the same time, those articles wrote that celebrities should not have a right to speak, so would it really be different it concerts were made just like safe spaces?
All of the people who wrote these articles want to bring people together, but would demanding censorship make division even worse? If people, whether they are celebrities or not, are told that they need to “remain quiet,” are they not at risk of becoming emboldened to voice their message louder than before? Especially considering how abrasive and brash Eminem can be.
He is not running for public office or is in any position where he has to check his speech constantly. While a celebrity like Eminem has a niche market targeted to specific demographics, the words and actions of a politician affect everybody (which is why it is called “PUBLIC office”). If you had political views that you thought were better, then you would want to win him over rather than distance him.
Is it really an escape to HAVE to prepare to go to a concert, or would it add more stress already in someone’s everyday life by buying tickets, making arrangements in terms of transportation and surrounding him/herself with a horde of possibly inebriated fans?
Quite bluntly, is it truly productive to become so fixated on other people’s political views? Nobody’s existence is validated by the political beliefs of some shallow celebrity.
If people don’t like celebrities’ opinions or if they are not providing that escape that they crave so much, ignore them. Stop listening to their music. Stop watching their movies. Simple.
Should celebrities be allowed to have a political opinion if it agrees with the president? Should we just dismantle the First Amendment when it applies to celebrities? At one point does that grievance, and the grievances of the people who share that opinion, over someone’s political views become legislation and this country enters a new age of McCarthyism?
Celebrities may live in a “different America,” but Trump and the members of his administration also come from a “different America” and yet the articles appeared to have no problem with their political views.
By the logic of these articles, Donald Trump, as a reality TV show host, should not have had the right to his opinion because he was just another “arrogant celebrity” and should never have ran for president in the first place.