So far, it’s been a somewhat bumpy ride for the Oscars. Earlier this year, Trump’s immigration ban, which suspended the entry of refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-predominant countries into the U.S., was first protested by Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti. Decrying Trump’s visa ban as racist, the actress of the Oscar-nominated The Salesman announced on Twitter that she wouldn’t be attending the Oscars. A few days later, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi wrote a letter that expressed he wouldn’t be attending the Oscars even if he were allowed to travel to the U.S., despite the fact that his film The Salesman was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
While neither Alidoosti nor Farhadi has called their decisions to sit out on the Oscars a boycott of the ceremony, there is little doubt that their actions are meant to be understood as a form of protest against Donald Trump’s immigration policies. And now the Oscars may have another problem on their hands: Trump supporters are now calling for an actual boycott of the Academy Awards.
On February 13, the organization Tempe Republican Women published a post on Facebook that called for a boycott of the Oscars this year. The purpose of the boycott, according to the post, was to send a message to the entertainment industry, especially the actors and actresses who have been vocal in their denouncement of Trump. Actresses like Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Ashley Judd, and Whoopi Goldberg were singled out as “arrogant hypocrites” by the Tempe Republican Women.
“It is important that we, the deplorables, show the likes of Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Alec Baldwin, Cher, Ashley Judd, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, and the other arrogant hypocrites, that we, the backbone and decent people of America, are more united than the bitter, unhappy, angry, divisive people of the entertainment industry.”
The Tempe Republican Women is calling for people to boycott the Oscars by simply refusing to watch the Academy Awards ceremony on February 26. In their statement, the organization contends that the boycott will cause the ratings of the Oscars to drop, which will be a humbling blow to the “arrogant entertainment industry.”
“This will only be effective if we show the same unity we exhibited during the election. Yet how powerful will it be when the ratings for the Academy Awards fall in the toilet. It is only for a couple of hours and requires very little effort. When this happens, the arrogant entertainment industry will understand just how insignificant and powerless [they are].”
While a boycott of the Oscars gained prominence on social media with the #OscarSoWhite movement last year, a movement that arose in response to the lack of minority representation in the Oscars nominations of 2016, the boycotting of the ceremony has since been repurposed this year by Trump supporters. On Twitter, the hashtag #BoycottOscars has gained momentum among Trump supporters who have taken issue with Hollywood’s prevailing anti-Trump rhetoric.
There’s no telling whether the Oscar boycott from Trump supporters will actually affect the ratings of the Academy Awards ceremony this Sunday. According to the Wrap, the 2016 Oscars drew 34.3 million viewers, which was a 6.3 percent drop from the ratings in 2015 and the third-lowest viewing numbers since Nielsen started its electronic tracking in 1992. A boycott from Trump’s fan base may put a dent in the Oscars’ viewing rates this year, but that’s still hard to say, especially if one considers that those most vehemently opposed to the Oscars this year were unlikely to have been faithful viewers of the ceremony in the past.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]