President Obama Embraces Hollywood in Public – Finally

President Obama Embraces Hollywood in Public – Finally

It's taken years for the president to publicly return the love Hollywood has bestowed

It took him more than a few years, but the president who Hollywood helped put in the White House finally returned the compliment with public words that said what the entertainment industry has been dying to hear: Entertainment matters.

To that I'd only say: What took him so long?

See photos: President Barack Obama Speaks at DreamWorks

Speaking on the DreamWorks Animation campus in Glendale on Tuesday, Obama finally threw his arms around the left coast liberals who make the movies and television shows that the whole world hungers to see. (And by that I mean not only the actual “Hunger Games.” )

For once, Obama publicly acknowledged the value that America's popular culture bestows around the world, and in this country.

“Entertainment is one of America's biggest exports … part of our American diplomacy,” he said. “You can say, ‘May the force be with you’ [anywhere in the world], they'll know what you're talking about.”

He added: “You help shape the world's culture.”

Also read: President Obama Quotes Roger Ebert in Economic Address at DreamWorks: ‘Kindness Covers My Beliefs’

Ain't that the truth. Hollywood does more than shape the world's culture. Hollywood IS the world's culture. Do you know of another global lingua franca besides Michael Jackson, Mickey Mouse and “Breaking Bad”?

It took the president only slightly longer to embrace his left coast entertainment industry base than it took to get behind same-sex marriage.

Hollywood is an “economic engine,” Obama said, a rare bright spot in the economy that creates “hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs — not only the ones on the marquee.”

In his first administration, Obama turned off many of his most ardent Hollywood  followers by seldom visiting the West Coast and declining to give them their own bedroom at the White House, as Bill Clinton did. Many who supported him in the first campaign were less enthused in the second one because of that.

Obama has been on a first-name basis with Jeffrey Katzenberg for many years. As he has with Sony's Michael Lynton and his wife Jamie, as he is with Harvey Weinstein and any number of leading celebrities including Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, and others who stumped for him tirelessly.

But you never saw him saying so in public. In a Tea Party world, you love your liberals in the closet, not in the limelight.

On Tuesday, he finally deigned to publicly embrace the company Jeffrey built in a tough economy and in a shifting global marketplace.

It was notable that billionaire donor Haim Saban, the diehard Hillary Clinton supporter, softened his stance and hosted Obama for a fundraiser on Monday night for the first time.

Tuesday was something different. Perhaps it's because Obama is in his last term, or perhaps he needed to balance the scales and show some gratitude as he makes new rounds asking for cash for Democrats.

Or maybe he's just tired of the right coast resentment and looking for that left coast love.

You know Hollywood always gives it to him.

He joked: “Marlon Brando had it easy in ‘The Godfather': “When it comes to Congress, there's no such thing as an offer they can't refuse.”


  • FilmPunk

    Yes Hollywood is reaping what it sows. The town that got this fool elected has now returned on the taxpayer's dime to ask for more money and wax poetically about how he wishes he were king. So celebrate the emperor's arrival, pine and swoon, as Rome burns.

  • SissiePooh

    Yes, Hollywood is an “economic engine” which constantly pumps out silliness and mediocrity, and makes obscene levels of money for the few while the bulk of the population lives in cultural ignorance and illiteracy.

    • Kristina


      Really there are a lot of people who work VERY hard in this business who are incredibly talented. They make it look easy, but I assure you, it isn't.

      While it may seem like individuals earn an obscene amount of money, they are really only sharing in the profit (for the most part). There is nothing wrong with that.

      Also, for example, performers don't get paid every day so while it might seem at a level of obscenity it is not.
      Well-known, highly paid performers have a huge amount of people on their team who also rely on them for a paycheck (agents, managers, lawyers, household staff, childcare, coaches, stylists, publicists, bodyguards, etc., etc.)

      Please reconsider the talent of those who work so very hard creatively in the Business. There are many.

      I'm not sure how folks in Hollywood are responsible for people outside of it not going to the library, learning how to use a computer, to read, speak proper English and stay in school. In fact SAG Book Pals for example has all types of level of performer reading in the schools, promoting literacy.

      And cultural ignorance…if there's a story to be told, get out there, write, collaborate, get producing partners, assemble a team and pitch away. If there's a need to get something out culturally it's DIY and your passion can bring awareness to anything. Tell your story, there's are so many opportunities to show your story these days.

      • SissiePooh

        I do consider the talent in the business, and I appreciate the hard work that they do.

        Please don't think I'm ignoring their contributions to creating film and TV shows, but it seems as though Hollywood is stuck in a creative rut. I mean… how many times can you tell the same type of story and make it different enough so you don't bore the audience to tears? That's a huge challenge, especially at a time when the audience has been fragmented into so many different sections, and those segments of the audience haven't been well represented in Hollywood.

        Believe me, I'd love to be able to tell a good story, but just getting a foot in the door is incredibly hard to begin with, particularly if you don't live in Los Angeles, and don't know anyone in the business. That sense of clannishness tends to be very intimidating

        • Kristina

          I'd suggest checking out film festivals and scouring the Internet. There's a ton of content out there. Much of it good.

          And you can tell your story, you just have to commit to doing the work (unpaid for a long time perhaps), creating relationships, pitching until something hits.
          Another reason why those “big pay days” are necessary…many times it takes 10 years for a script to be made! That's a lot of sacrifice and if you are living in LA, paying a ton to live, eat, exist here.
          The lack of knowing people is a reason why so many people don't make it, get their projects together, etc. The solution is A.) do the work, outline, write, re-write, research, pitch, table read rinse & repeat and not necessarily in that order. B.) get out there and meet real people in The Biz who can help you get your scripts read, your projects seen, festivals, screenings, research people who you think might be an asset to your project and see what they like to do, connect with them…you'd be amazed. I could go on…connect with me off the group. I'm searchable & let me know what you come up with!

          • SissiePooh

            In Chicago (where I live), the emphasis is more on live theater than filmmaking, but I'll check out what you told me, and I'm more than ready to do the work, even though there are times when I have no idea what I'm doing.

  • Stuart W

    The Wrap

    “….In a Tea Party world you love your Liberals in the closet….,”

    Really? This caution with Liberals owning the White House and Senate; highlighted by Obama administration's IRS routinely rejecting, misplacing or otherwise delaying T.P. applications submitted to reasonably obtain “non-profit” status prior to the 2012 election?

    President Obama's final shot at comedy more irony than mirth. “Obamacare” passed in the dead of night by a Democrat Senate disregarding the framework of our nation's Constitution; if not threatening our founding documents’ very essence. Just who is smiling now folks?

  • Up and Over

    The sooner this jerk is gone & all the wrong he has done has been reversed…the better this country will be.

  • hasto

    Who writes this ish?? This dictator just sold this country out to a terrorist régime and you're worried about him pandering to Hollywood??? GTFOH with this ridiculous article.