Sir Anthony Hopkins, of ‘Silence of the Lambs' and ‘The Two Popes' fame, says he keeps his political opinions to himself for good reason. Other, more outspoken performers may want to take a page from his wise book these days.
Winner of the Academy Award for his memorable portrayal of Hannibal Lecter, Sir Anthony is no fan of opinionated actors, and he doesn't count himself as one.
"I don't have any opinions," Hopkins told fellow celebrity Brad Pitt for Interview Magazine. "Actors are pretty stupid. My opinion is not worth anything."
Hopkins, 81, said he's often asked for his opinion on developments in the world, but he's not as eager to answer as other celebrities.
"There's no controversy for me, so don't engage me in it, because I'm not going to participate," the actor said.
Unfortunately, not many modern stars agree with Hopkins, with many popular performers more than happy to engage in political and social debates and throw their opinions around with a sense of authority derived from their roles.
‘Avengers' star Mark Ruffalo, a man worth approximately $30 million, recently called for an "economic revolution" on Twitter and claimed "capitalism is failing us, killing us, and robbing from our children's future."
He also endorsed Bernie Sanders for president and claims we need to start electing leaders "like us," presumably meaning millionaire socialists.
‘Rosemary's Baby' star Mia Farrow tweeted on Thursday about a video presumably showing people climbing over the under-construction border wall between the US and Mexico.
Knowing nothing about those people, observed entering the country illegally, Farrow called their act "the triumph of the human spirit."
At a recent protest, ‘Love Actually' star Emma Thompson preached about a favorite celebrity subject, climate change. The actress gave folks a dire warning about the future.
"Better wrap up warm, [Ron: WHY? If emma Thompson is right, it's gonna get hotter!] ] stockpile food and remember there is a surprising amount of food in the average household pet. Looking ahead we are on course to sail past our 1.5 degree centigrade target putting us on track for long lasting and irreversible change," she said at an Extinction Rebellion protest, outside the BBC Broadcasting House in central London.
"I'm sorry I was born white and privileged. It disgusts me. And I feel so much shame," the actress wrote, receiving unsurprising backlash.
‘Will & Grace' leads Debra Messing and Eric McCormick went so far in their activism that they actually made an argument for bringing back McCarthyism, only instead of blacklisting communists, they wanted to blacklist Trump-supporting conservatives.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg, but more than enough to heed the wisdom of Sir Anthony's words.
Actors having opinions is not the problem. The problem is that they speak from authority none of them have actually earned. Many of them don't express their beliefs with any sort of humility, but instead shame and hammer their audience over the head with holier-than-thou sanctimony.
Not only is capitalism bad, but it's also killing kids! Global warming isn't just destroying the Earth, but you'll be forced to eat your pet if you don't change! Trump is so bad we should celebrate illegal immigrants sneaking into the country! There's not only racism in the world, but we should be ashamed to be white!Not only do we disagree with conservatives, but they should not have the right to earn a living!
Celebrity extremism has become especially prevalent in the age of Trump. Liberal celebrities have felt particularly empowered to insult millions of Americans with different opinions and they have felt just as empowered to fear-monger and go to the extreme with their beliefs.
Luckily, there are still a few daring artists who are willing to knock the whole fantasy of celebrities having political authority to the ground.
"Actors are pretty stupid."
You said it, Anthony Hopkins.
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By Zachary Leeman, author of the novel Nigh and journalist who covers art and culture
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.