For the first time in its 111-year history, Variety is endorsing a presidential candidate — Hillary Clinton. While it is commonplace for mass-market newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post to endorse candidates, that’s not the case for trade publications. But this year, the editors-in-chief and our publisher, Michelle Sobrino-Stearns, feel strongly that we should buck tradition and take a public stance on this historic election; for the same reason that The Atlantic endorsed Clinton (marking only the third time since its 1857 founding to back a candidate), we didn’t want to sit on the sidelines and come down on the wrong side of history.
There are a number of other motivating factors behind our decision. We believe that Clinton is not only the best candidate for the job, but the only candidate. As many endorsements have noted, she has the experience and temperament necessary to make a truly effective president. In fact, it’s hard to think of any presidential candidate with the depth of knowledge and public-service record she has.
Clinton has been spent her entire life as a social-justice activist, fighting for the rights of women, children, families, the disabled, farmers, veterans, and the LGBTQ community. She has taken on such crucial issues as climate change, racial injustice, and the epidemic of gun violence. She’s not “nasty” — she’s tough and unafraid to smash barriers, whether it was negotiating strict sanctions against Iran, or brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. She’s a global diplomat who has traveled extensively to forge ties with foreign leaders.
Likewise, in the industry we cover, she enjoys widespread support, having cultivated relationships with entertainment figures dating back to her role as first lady. At a time when the industry is enjoying tremendous growth across borders and cultures, she will understand and embrace the importance of international cooperation and the influence of soft power.
|“We believe that Clinton is not only the best candidate for the job, but the only candidate.”|
She has often talked about the strength of diversity in the American fabric, a topic that only recently has been given meaningful attention among studio chiefs, network heads, and industry organizations. We would expect her to continue this conversation from the bully pulpit of the presidency.
But it is a far different story when it comes to her opponent. Donald Trump lacks the experience, knowledge, and diplomacy to hold public office. His run for the presidency can be viewed as nothing more than a ploy to land another TV deal or launch a new cable channel so he can continue spewing his sexist, racist views. (Variety frequently writes about how sexism and racism run rampant in Hollywood, publishing such stories as a way to keep shining a light on the inequities that oddly still exist in a business that is largely liberal.)
Trump has a long history of disrespect for and objectification of women. Since the surfacing of the now infamous video of his lewd 2005 conversation with Billy Bush, at least a dozen women have gone public with claims that he sexually harassed them.
Sexual harassment is a subject that has made big headlines in the entertainment press, as stories about alleged high-profile abusers like Bill Cosby, former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, and Trump have surfaced. It was nothing less than public harassment and vindictive, belittling misogyny when Trump, after a 2015 GOP debate moderated by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, said on “CNN Tonight” that Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever.” Later, on Twitter, he called her a “bimbo.”
As for Trump’s racist views, we’re talking about a man who wants to build a wall to block immigration and expel all Muslims and undocumented immigrants (whom he dubbed “bad hombres”) in our country.
Show business is grappling with its own diversity issues — witness last year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy, and #BlackLivesMatter. During these challenging times for Hollywood and the world at large, Trump would not be a moral leader who could inspire change.
|“Women, young and old, are ready to have someone in the highest office who will protect their rights, champion their causes, and serve as a role model for this and future generations.”|
Let’s talk about another disconcerting issue that has cropped up during Trump’s campaign that is essential to the way the media business functions — his treatment of the First Amendment. Trump has intimidated reporters and made multiple threats to sue outlets for stories he despises — a tactic in keeping with his litigious past, but highly unusual for a candidate.
Moreover, he has gone beyond libel threats to hint that he would use the levers of power to go after media companies he dislikes. He suggested that Amazon has antitrust issues. “Oh, do they have problems,” he said. The size of tech giants may be a genuine issue, but Trump’s context was his unhappiness with the way he has been covered by The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The time has come to elect our first female president. Women, young and old, are ready to have someone in the highest office who will protect their rights, champion their causes, and serve as a role model for this and future generations.
We are proud to endorse Hillary Clinton as president and put an end to a prolonged election circus dominated by an egomaniacal ringmaster. Through it all, she has remained dignified and focused on the issues. We believe she will lead America forward with great vigor and success.