Roger L. Simon

The Fifty Cent Movie Star political contribution

CNN’s Political Ticker has the “startling news” today that most celebrities (and some semi-celebrities… Christy Romano?) are putting their money behind Democratic presidential candidates this year. The network has some facts and figures.

As a longtime denizen of Hollywood, what struck me immediately reading them is how little money this is to these people. The big spender is Ben Stiller, who seems to be aping corporate donors by hedging his bets and giving to more than one candidate (Clinton and Edwards) for a total of $11,500, inexplicably going over the legal limit of $9200. But even at the higher number, that is chump change to Stiller (known to be a nice guy, by the way) when you consider that he has gross points in a half dozen or so of the biggest box office hits of all time. A donation of 10K for Stiller equates to at best a couple of dollars to a normal person – maybe fifty cents.

The same can be said for Spielberg and Hanks and some others on the list. These people do not have to dig very deep into their net worths to make a political impact or assuage their consciences or both. They are probably making more in interest at the very moment they are making the donation (or their assistants are).

There are some amusing entries on the list: Baywatch star Alexandra Paul as a Kucinich supporter and Tony Sirico of The Sopranos backing Giuliani (Italian connection?). Actually Giuliani is the only Republican with any listed monetary support from Hollywood at all… and he only has two, two fewer than Dennis K.

Also notable is the support being given by Peter Coyote (a friend of mine from our radical pasts) to John “Two Americas” Edwards of the four hundred dollar haircuts and 28,000 square foot house. Edwards seems to be the radical chic candidate du jour. Oliver Stone, not surprisingly, is supporting him, but only to the tune of $500. Oliver’s recent movies haven’t fared very well at the box office, but you’d think he could do better than that. Oliver himself has quite a spread in Telluride. Whatever happened to “Luxury Home Owner Solidarity Forever?”