Amy Schumer, Greg Berlanti, Ben Platt, Rosie O’Donnell, Julianne Moore and Issa Rae are among the A-listers calling out major studios for donating to NRA-backed politicians. Over 100 actors, producers and industry creatives signed an open letter, urging Hollywood companies to end political contributions to candidates who take money from the NRA and vote against gun reform. It also calls for the companies to use political clout to actively lobby for gun reform, as well as support gun violence survivors.
The statement, crafted with the help of gun reform advocacy group Guns Down America, expresses concern about the epidemic of gun violence in the country. It also urges the entertainment industry to help build safer communities.
“Since the federal government has failed to pass reforms that raise the standard for gun ownership in America, our industry has a responsibility to act,” the letter reads. “We hope that you do.”
The open letter noted that from 2016 to 2020, studios behind this year’s Oscar best picture nominees have donated a combined total of $4.2 million to political action committee associated with NRA-backed lawmakers. Comcast, the corporate parent of Universal, which produced the war epic “1917,” donated the most money to NRA-backed politicians, according to the group, with $3.5 million between the four-year stretch. Netflix, which backed “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story,” was the least supportive of pro-gun politicians, donating just $10,200 over that period. It’s unclear if the figures that Guns Down America cites include AT&T, the telecom giant that owns Warner Bros. — the studio behind “Joker.” The group says that Warner Bros.’ political action committees donated $252,000 to pro-gun politicians. The numbers also get somewhat muddled because Twentieth Century Studios and Searchlight, which backed “Ford v Ferrari” and “Jojo Rabbit,” were bought by Disney during the period that Guns Down America examined donations.
In an interview, Igor Volsky, executive director of Guns Down America, said the organization had previously sent letters to each studio with a best picture nominee that were written by families and people who had been directly impacted by gun violence. Those signatories included Sandy Phillips and Lonnie Phillips, a couple whose daughter was killed in the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting; Manuel Oliver and Patricia Oliver, a couple whose son was killing in the 2018 Parkland shooting; and Joseph Sakran, an American trauma surgeon and gun control activist. None of the studios responded. Volsky said he has been reaching out to celebrities and artists in recent weeks to encourage him to join the campaign.
“The Oscars are a real opportunity to celebrate the film industry, but as we recognize those accomplishments, we also want to encourage this business to recognize that they have an opportunity and an obligation to play a leadership role on this issue,” said Volsky. “This is a serious epidemic facing Americans and studios need to do all they can to recognize their responsibility to keep their audience safe.”
Volsky said the group is planning “on the ground actions” in the coming weeks, including a demonstration on Saturday in front of Universal’s offices in Los Angeles.
Read the letter below:
An Open Letter to Hollywood Executives
We, the undersigned, are actors, producers, and industry creatives concerned about the epidemic of gun violence sweeping our country and are joining forces to do everything we can to help build safer communities for us all.
Over the last several months, large American companies have urged policymakers to enact bipartisan legislation to address this epidemic. Some of you have joined these public calls, but we believe that there’s more you can do.
The annual awards season shines a spotlight on our industry and provides you with the opportunity to take direct action that will save lives all across this country. That’s why we are calling on all major Hollywood studios to:
1. End political contributions to candidates who take money from the NRA and vote against gun reform. From 2016 to 2020, the political action committees associated with the studios behind this year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees donated a combined total of $4.2 million to NRA-backed lawmakers. These lawmakers’ opposition to gun reform is literally putting our audiences in danger and we are urging you to consider a politician’s position on gun reform when political contributions in the future.
2. Use your political clout and leverage in Congress to actively lobby for gun reform. Keeping everyone safe should be a top corporate priority for all of us.
3. Support gun violence survivors and gun violence intervention programs to help reduce everyday gun violence all across this country.
Since the federal government has failed to pass reforms that raise the standard for gun ownership in America, our industry has a responsibility to act. We hope that you do.
Nick Adams • Zuri Adele • Mikko Alanne • Wade Allain-Marcus • Ted Allen • Tala Ashe • Britt Baron • Willam Belli • Greg Berlanti • Michael Bonfiglio • Bradley Bredeweg • Yvette Nicole Brown • Kay Cannon • Emily Chang • Cindy Chu • Jason P. Clark • Alan Cumming • Emily Deschanel • Chelsea Devantez • Kerri Doherty • Billy Eichner Joshua Hale Fialkov • Frances Fisher • John Fugelsang • David Futernick • Noah Galvin • Roxane Gay Joanna Going • Ari Graynor • Chelsea Handler • Adam Hann-Byrd • Daryl Hannah • Abraham Higginbotham Amy Hoggart • Joselyn Hughes • Emma Hunton • Joanna Johnson • Max Joseph • Kevin Kane • Gloria Calderon Kellett • Michael Kelly • Andrew Kimmel • Kate Lambert • Josh Lamon • Amanda Lasher Franklin Leonard • Jane Levy • Jeff Loveness • Doug Mand • Melina Matsoukas • Eric McCormack • Kevin McHale Austin P. McKenzie • Danny Mears • Alyssa Milano • Mary B.Miller • Kelly Minster • Matthew Modine Julianne Moore • Natalie Morales • Rosie O’Donnell • Tricia O’Kelley • Kerry O’Malley • Mark V. Olsen • Yvonne Orji Charkyluv Osborne • Peter Paige • Sharron Paul • Jennifer Paz • Melissa Jo Peltier • Josh Pence • Chelsea Peretti Jim Piddock • Ben Platt • Jonah Platt • Josh Raby • Issa Rae • Anthony Rapp • Peyton Reed • Alan Resnick • Patricia Riggen • Sebastian Roché • Natasha Rothwell • Kendrick Sampson • Kristen Schaal • Will Scheffer Chris Schleicher • Amy Schumer • Sarah Gertrude Shapiro • David Slack • Hal Sparks • Abigail Spencer Amber Spillman • Scott Squires • Caissie St. Onge • April Stewart • Tara Strong • Zac Stuart-Pontier Danny Tamberelli • Jenna Ushkowitz • Eric Van Wagenen • Michaela Watkins • Ben Wexler • Sherry Xu Sasheer Zamata • Danny Zuker • Daphne Zuniga