Hugh Jackman and Shirley MacLaine, I’m talking to you!
The ebb and flow of the internet does more than enable the delivery of news detailing the struggle to save the elderly of the Motion Picture Home’s Long Term Care Unit, otherwise known as the Nursing Home. It also enables what I consider propaganda, half-truths and misleading messages to be broadcast by the MPTF to an unaware and unassuming entertainment industry that for the most part doesn’t seem to be grasping the life-and-death struggle that is occurring in its own back yard.
Consider one of the seemingly generic announcements received via the internet the other day that originated from the beleaguered MPTF PR staff. The message came as an alert that brought us to a Daily Variety article announcing a benefit, strangely headlined: "Celebs Set to Romance Fund."
Romance the Fund? How can anyone in their right mind romance a fund that’s under the control of despots who seek to bring the curtain down on the nursing home that serves the vital needs of their own industry?
Romance in what context? Is it the soft romance whispered in a lover’s ear by an unfaithful suitor who seeks to pull the plug on the life support that keeps his lover alive? Or is it the "romance" preceding a forcible rape: romance uttered emptily as a prelude to an act that defiles the moral code of anyone who is concerned for the weak and disabled elderly that are being forced out of a nursing home under the control of the wealthiest and highest paid executives in the care industry.
It’s difficult to control the initial urge to fire off a raging diatribe that threatens to replace the intent of the message with bombast that might alienate those who I most need to communicate to.
But not this time. This time the message has to be finely crafted, taken seriously and offered to those who can make a huge difference in keeping hope and health alive for a nursing home that coddles and cares for the very people its founders identified as "the heart of the Motion Picture Home." The care of those who can no longer care for themselves. The care that the industry cannot let go of, no matter who is masterminding its demise. The care that once made the Motion Picture Home’s Nursing Home the vanguard of around-the-clock skilled nursing care.
If there are any "celebs" left who by now do not know what the endgame of the MPTF board is, I can’t believe that "romance" would be the term any of them would use. How do you romance someone who seeks to break up families, transition elderly and disabled film and TV workers off campus to unsavory and sometimes sub-standard digs? How do you romance a regime that has ignored the advice of their own medical professionals regarding transfer trauma, possibly to the detriment of an inordinate percentage of those who have not survived their transition?
There is nothing romantic going on, save the tenderness that the caregivers are still able to give to my mother and what is left of her community of elders in the nursing home.
So here is my message, please hear it for what it is and who it is meant for.
To the "celebs" lined up to "romance" the Fund: Hugh Jackman, Joel Grey, Patti LuPone, Shirley MacLaine, James Marsden, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kristen Bell, John Barrowman, Christine Ebersole, Hector Elizondo, Leslie Uggams, Cheyenne Jackson, Melina Kanakaredes, Kelli O’Hara, Lea Salonga and Aaron Tveit.
Is there one among you who will stand up and say, "We are not in agreement that these elderly should be transferred"? Will Shirley MacLaine demand that the continuum of care not be torn apart so that families will not be separated? Will Hugh Jackman urge his MPTF hosts to include the Nursing Home in the proceeds raised (they are not beneficiaries of any donations, and they need the financial support as much or more than other parts of the campus)? Will Joel Grey question the noose of security that is being tightened around the elderly’s necks? Will anyone wear the gold ribbon that is worn by the families to show solidarity in their fight to keep this viable, necessary service now and for generations to come?
I’m willing to bet that one of these fine people will look into their heart, and ask, "Why is this happening, and why am I allowing this to happen on my watch?"
This is the message that I’m hoping is delivered in the spirit intended.
This message surely will reach someone via the internet who is connected to one of these people. This message includes an invitation to visit the nursing home, and to meet those whose sweat built the industry that enables their stardom — and who are now facing eviction. This message is a plea for your help to save lives.
This is how we "romance" the fund, by protecting those who can’t protect themselves, and guaranteeing long-term care for generations to come.