The Hollywood Reporter has apologized for its Hollywood blacklist role, more than sixty years after a Communism panic swept across the US.
The entertainment mag’s Hollywood Blacklist role stems back to a time when much of America was fearful of change and politically conservative, and a large-scale panic was drummed up surrounding the imagined Communist activity of notable figures in the US.
The paper’s Hollywood blacklist role is probably easy to imagine in scope when one considers the terrorism panic that arose after September 11 in the states, as well as the tone of some media and political rhetoric in its wake — a sort of “you’re with us or against us” vibe that permeated media in the early to mid-00s and even through today suggesting that any “leftist” leanings are tantamount to a rejection of the American way of life.
The Hollywood blacklist era also marks a time when Hollywood was not considered to be predominantly liberal or leftist, with THR referring to the time as “Hollywood’s darkest chapter.” And indeed, little apology by way of mention has been offered in the six decades since the Red Scare took its toll on many in Hollywood, with the lengthy piece in THR noting:
“The institutions of Hollywood, many of which were complicit in the blacklisting, have rarely recognized this painful era. One notable exception was in 1998, when AFTRA, the Directors Guild of America, SAG and the Writers Guild of America West gathered in Beverly Hills to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the HUAC hearings. Billy Crystal and Kevin Spacey gave speeches, those who had been blacklisted spoke emotionally, and the organizations apologized for not protecting their members … The audience was left in tears.”
Again, it feels not enough of a parallel can be drawn between the Hollywood blacklist role in using insinuation to put forth an agenda and some of today’s media personalities, who seem to draw from the page of THR founder Billy Wilkerson’s quote at the height of the panic:
“Any man or woman who, under the guise of freedom of speech, or the cloak of the Bill of Rights, or under the pseudo protection of being a liberal, says things, causes things to be said, or who actually is involved with many of the conspiracies that have now infested this great land of ours, has no place among us, be he commie or what. He or she should be rushed out of our business.”
You can read The Hollywood Reporter‘s full apology for their Hollywood blacklist role over on their site.