Hollywood icon Kurt Russell said during a recent interview entertainers and celebrities should keep their noses out of politics.
The star made the suggestion during an interview with The New York Times to promote the Netflix sequel, “The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two,” in which he reprises his role as Santa Claus.
“Totally,” Russell said when asked if he holds to his opinion celebrities should avoid making political statements. “I’ve always been someone who felt we are court jesters. That’s what we do.”
“As far as I’m concerned,” he continued, “you should step away from saying anything so that you can still be seen by the audience as any character. There’s no reason entertainers can’t learn just as much as anybody else about a subject, whatever it is. But I think that what’s sad about it is that they lose their status as a court jester. And I’m a court jester. That’s what I was born to do.”
The 69-year-old actor defined a court jester as someone who “isn’t always funny” but is nevertheless “the only one who can walk into the castle and put the king down, as long as he doesn’t hit too close to him.”
“I think that’s been a big, important part of all cultures throughout history, and I’d like to see it stay in ours,” he added.
In an era when there’s pressure to make everyone and everything political, Russell is one of a handful of celebrities who believe it’s best for entertainers to steer clear of hot-button issues.
Country music legend Dolly Parton said during an interview this week on NBC’s “Today” that she tries to “stay out of other people’s business,” adding, “I don’t argue about religion and politics. I try to steer clear of that and just do what good I can in my own little world, doing it the best way I know how.”
During a 2017 appearance on ABC’s “The View, the queen of country herself, Reba McEntire, made comments much like Russell’s.
Asked by co-host Joy Behar to share her political views, McEntire replied:
I take it this way: [My fans] have paid their hard-earned money to come in there and fill a seat — parking, getting something at the concession stand, go and eat before the concert — I am there to entertain them, to take their worries away form them, so when they walk out, they can kind of have a little lift in their step and [say], ‘Aw, that was such a great break from all the problems I have to deal with during daily life.’ So I’m not going to give them my political views.
While she is not at all fearful to share her perspective, McEntire told Behar it’s “not as important” to her as entertaining her fans.
“It shouldn’t be my platform to be up on the stage giving my political views,” she concluded.
Other well-known celebrities like actors Anthony Hopkins and Mark Wahlberg have said over the years they, too, avoid making political or controversial statements.
During a conversation last December with Interview magazine, Hopkins quipped he avoids making comments about world events because his opinion is “not worth anything.”
“I don’t have any opinions,” he said. “Actors are pretty stupid. My opinion is not worth anything. There’s no controversy from me, so don’t engage me in it, because I’m not going to participate.”
A couple years earlier, in 2017, Wahlberg expressed a similar sentiment.
“You know, it just goes to show you that people aren’t listening to that anyway,” he told Task & Purpose. “They might buy your CD or watch your movie, but you don’t put food on their table. You don’t pay their bills. A lot of Hollywood is living in a bubble. They’re pretty out of touch with the common person, the everyday guy out there providing for their family.”
In a separate interview with Yahoo! Finance, Wahlberg said: “Both Republicans and Democrats buy movie tickets. I had a strong opinion [about the 2016 election] and I didn’t choose to voice it out in the public, but now that somebody is in office, let’s all just come together and rally around [President Donald Trump] and make sure he has the best chance to succeed.”