As not only one of the world’s most recognizable celebrities, but a guy who’s been working in television and film for over 40 years — both in front of and behind the camera — George Clooney is someone who’s had a front row seat for all of Hollywood’s transformations over the past few decades. Clooney was asked recently about how he thinks cancel culture has changed the entertainment industry, and he gave a balanced answer. He thinks things are better in Hollywood — maybe.
Speaking to the Sunday Times (via ET Online), George Clooney referenced how the #MeToo movement has changed things in Hollywood. As opposed to what was reportedly standard operating procedure for the convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein and others like him, Clooney said, “I can’t imagine some producer having a casting session alone in his hotel room with a young girl anymore. It’s moving in the right direction.”
It isn’t, however, only in the areas of sexual harassment and sexual assault in which the entertainment industry is potentially improving, according to George Clooney. He said so-called “cancel culture” has made the bosses of Hollywood more careful about how they treat the people working for them, regardless of gender. “You can’t get away with being a d–k anymore,” Clooney said. “You’d get ratted out.” Explaining that he’s both “been the boss and the guy being s–t on,” the actor told the Times, “Just because you’re a boss, it doesn’t mean you get to s–t on people.”
Still, George Clooney says he isn’t completely sold on the idea of the changes being significant, or just cosmetic. The star suggested there could be yet more scandals waiting to surface. “We’ll know when we see how wrong something else goes,” Clooney said. “I’m sure there’s more and someone will tell us. Then we will have to pay attention.”
While some may be unsurprised by George Clooney’s stance on cancel culture — considering his historically active, left-leaning political life — it’s clear that when it comes to the different celebrities’ stances on the subject, things don’t universally land in the usual left/right dynamic. For example, while it may not be much of a surprise that a vocal conservative like Dean Cain has issues with cancelling celebrities, other actors who have criticized cancel culture include names like Donald Glover, Monthy Python veteran John Cleese, and Johnny Depp — none of whom are often associated with conservative politics.
What remains a big question is that of how and why some celebrities squeeze through the cracks of so-called “cancel culture.” Seeming to defy everything George Clooney says on the subject, for example, is the re-emerging career of actor/director Mel Gibson. During a 2006 DUI arrest, the actor was recorded making antisemitic remarks. Four years later audio recordings were leaked of Gibson threatening his former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, admitting to physically abusing her, and making racist remarks. In spite of it all, Gibson will be directing Lethal Weapon 5 and even starring in a new holiday family movie. Perhaps more than any other recent announcements about Gibson, the news that he would be starring in The Continental — the upcoming John Wick spinoff series — had fans in an uproar, but so far there’s been no word that any of the aforementioned productions have been affected by the noise.