Thursday morning, the Montage in Beverly Hills became the stomping grounds for EMA as it kicked off its inaugural two-day Impact Summit.
Along with the most environmentally conscious suited professionals, the event drew Malin Akerman, Lance Bass, and Van Jones who delivered a keynote, “Where We Went Wrong and How We Can Change the Future.”
Before addressing the crowd, “The Messy Truth” host spoke with Variety to weigh in on the media’s impact on politics.
“I’m hoping that we’ll be able to find better ways to listen to each other,” he said. “People are now almost completely isolated from each other from a media point of view. The media is no longer just what happens on television. Algorithms that Twitter and Instagram and [others] use that suggest you follow this person and this person are killing us. They only suggest you follow people that are just like you. The algorithms never say maybe because you’ve followed a hundred liberals maybe you want to consider following one conservative. Nope. You follow one hundred liberals, they’ll let you follow a thousand, ten thousand, and a million liberals. You’ll never hear from somebody else.”
Regarding the impact of commentary from late-night television and President Donald Trump’s administration, the former Obama administration advisor was all for the satirical jab saying, “I think ‘SNL’ should be a 24-hour, seven-day a week station.”
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He also mused on how film and television run adjacent with the vote. “Look, Hollywood created ‘The West Wing.’ That opened the door for a President Obama to be taken seriously as a cerebral, high-integrity candidate. Hollywood also produced reality television, which lowered the bar for any kind of rational discussion or role models and that gave you Donald Trump. I think this town needs to take a lot more seriously the stories it’s telling. The same Hollywood liberals that cash all these checks from reality TV when they look in their bank account are now sad from looking at their TV every night.”
Inside, Jones took a personal approach. With his notebook facedown on the podium, he looked to the crowd saying, “We can’t recover from two things and the world can’t recover from two things. One is nuclear war and the other is runaway catastrophic climate change. Those two threats are now more present than they’ve ever been in the history of this country because of the president.”
Jones’ speech continued his remarks, which earned him a standing ovation and praise from Bass, who told the audience with a smile, “It feels like I just left church.”
The event also featured “The Future Innovator of the Year Challenge,” which was hosted by Jaden Smith who noted his involvement with eco-friendly water bottle company Just Water.
“Innovation is really what we need more of in this world,” Smith said. “If we can look around in our daily life and you can see an issue in a world and you can become a solution to that issue in a sustainable way … that’s something that’s extremely powerful.”