In the wake of the Orlando shootings, actor and activist George Takei is calling on the LGBT movement to direct its energies to gun measures, such as a ban on assault weapons, and sees such a strategy as effective given the success in repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and legalizing same-sex marriage.
“We have an infrastructure of organizations now that know how to work within the political arena and how to work on galvanizing the public,” Takei tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “We have had one victory after another. It has taken a long time and a lot of energy, but we have the organizations, we have the activists and we have the motivation.”
Takei was joined by Lorenzo Thione, CEO of the Social Edge and producer of Takei’s “Allegiance” on Broadway. Thione says that a key in galvanizing action on social media is to “get the message to resonate with people who can organize and have a real effect.”
Takei wrote a piece in the Daily Beast last week in which he wrote that the LGBT community could lead on gun control measures. Just as the First Amendment doesn’t protect such things as falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, he says, there can be restrictions on the Second Amendment.
“It is madness,” he says. “We need to get some rationality on the Second Amendment. This is crazy what we allow ourselves.”
He also says that the Orlando attacks were an “assault on our Constitution,” as the shootings at a gay nightclub were an attack on the First Amendment freedom of assembly and association.
Takei dismisses Donald Trump’s overtures to the LGBT community in the wake of the attacks. “He will say anything, and then the next day or the next hour he will say something else,” Takei says.
What ‘The Witness’ Really Did
James Solomon’s new documentary “The Witness” follows Bill Genovese as he tries to piece together what really happened the night in 1964 when his sister Kitty was murdered in Queens, N.Y., as she was heading to her apartment after work. The story of Kitty Genovese became a sensation that year, after the New York Times published a piece claiming that 38 witnesses watched her being assaulted and killed but did nothing.
As Bill Genovese discovered over the course of 11 years, the story was greatly embellished, even as it became the source of sociological studies, books and TV show plot lines over the apathy of witnesses in the face of a crime being committed.
Nikki Schwab of the Daily Mail and David Cohen of Variety talk about whether the Orlando shootings will lead to action on gun control legislation on Capitol Hill. They also talk about Trump’s response, and why the whole idea that he would be dumped from the ticket at the GOP convention is highly unlikely.
“PopPolitics,” hosted by Ted Johnson, airs on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS on Thursdays from 2-3 pm ET/11 a.m.-noon PT. It also is available on demand.