Claire McCaskill’s GOP Opponent Slams Her Over Hollywood Ties

WASHINGTON — The most vulnerable of all Democratic senators up for re-election next year will attend a fundraiser co-hosted by Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger on Thursday, and with it, a GOP candidate is using it to attack his opponent.

In the wake of the event, the campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill’s opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, put out a statement calling McCaskill “Hollywood’s candidate” and is trying to link her to Harvey Weinstein, a GOP target after his sexual harassment and assault scandal broke last fall.

“In the past, she gave Harvey Weinstein a taxpayer-funded advertisement for his movie,” said Hawley spokesperson Kelli Ford. “It’s no surprise because she is one of the top recipients of money from Hollywood. Now she is going back for even more money.”

The movie in question was “Philomena,” a Weinstein Co. release that was among the Oscar contenders in 2013-14, about Philomena Lee’s search for a child she was forced to put up for adoption. McCaskill met with Lee in 2014 to talk about the issue of forced adoption and Lee’s call for access to records in Ireland.

According to Reuters, Lee met with other lawmakers on that trip — including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.). But the Hawley campaign’s attack is rooted in the idea that the visit to Capitol Hill was a pretext for the movie’s Oscar campaign.

McCaskill’s campaign did not comment. But in her office’s press release for the 2014 meeting, McCaskill talked of her own family’s connection to adoption, and her office noted that Philomena’s son, after being taken away from her, was raised in St. Louis, Mo.

Especially during awards season, Weinstein did have a knack for connecting the themes of his movies with public policy debate and high profile leaders. In the case of “Philomena,” Lee also met with Pope Francis with star Steve Coogan.

The attack from Hawley’s campaign shows the extent to which Republicans are determined to tie red state Democrats to the Hollywood “elite.” It’s a pretty well-worn tactic familiar to those in Hollywood fundraising circles and to candidates, as showbiz is a big source of campaign money and endorsements, but it does come with some payback.

In the days after the Weinstein scandal, the Republican National Committee hammered Democrats for taking contributions from him, and many did give their donations to charity. Democrats returned the favor when sexual harassment allegations surfaced about Steve Wynn, who was the RNC finance chair and resigned his post. Some GOP groups did return contributions.

Popular on Variety

More Politics

  • Sean Spicer Dancing With the Stars

    Sean Spicer Hopes 'Dancing With the Stars' Gig Will 'Move the Country Forward'

    In the face of a swift backlash, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he hoped his role as a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” can help “move the country forward in a positive way.” Spicer told CNN on Thursday that his “DWTS” posting was about entertainment, not politics. ABC revealed Spicer [...]

  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a

    Bolsonaro LGBTQI Outburst, Subsidy Freeze, Stirs Outrage

    Ramping up the drive into censorship in Brazil, its Minister of Citizenship, Omar Terra, has suspended a call for applications for governmental TV funding – until new criteria are established for its application. The country’s secretary for culture, Henrique Pires, who reports to Terra, has resigned in protest of the incentive freeze. The suspension, for [...]

  • Cardi BSwisher Sweets Spark Award, Arrivals,

    Cardi B Talks Police Brutality, Student Debt With Bernie Sanders in Nail Salon

    Rapper Cardi B hosted Senator Bernie Sanders for a video interview at The TEN nail bar in Detroit, an appropriate venue for a musician known to sport some serious claws. Cardi and the 2020 presidential candidate discussed everything from reinstating and expanding the DACA program to fixing student debt by placing a “modest” speculation tax [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein Autopsy Reportedly Finds Broken Bones in Neck

    Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy results suggest that the the disgraced multimillionaire sustained multiple breaks in his neck bones, according to The Washington Post. The report says one of the bones broken was the hyoid bone, which is near the Adam’s apple in men. Although hyoid breaks have been known to occur during a hanging, experts told [...]

  • Asap Rocky1 Oak : Gotha Takeover

    A$AP Rocky: A Swedish Take on the Case That Riveted the Country

    With everyone from President Donald Trump to the Rev. Al Sharpton weighing in on rapper A$AP Rocky’s detention in Stockholm after his involvement in a street brawl there, this peculiar saga seemed tailor-made for summer’s silly season. But in Sweden it has also sparked debate about some serious issues – such as the nature of [...]

  • United States Attorney for the Southern

    Jeffrey Epstein Autopsy Results 'Pending Further Information' Following Examination

    Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy results are “pending further information,” according to a statement from the New York City Medical Examiner’s office. “Today, a medical examiner performed the autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein. The ME’s determination is pending further information at this time,” chief medical examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said in the statement. Sampson also confirmed the presence [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content