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As Lockdowns Kill Businesses in California and New York the Politicians Ensure that Hollywood Is Thriving

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Will Heath/NBC via AP

Recently entertainer Seth MacFarlane made a quiet announcement that his sci-fi space satire television show ‘’The Orville’’ was going back into production. This is a somewhat unsettling announcement for a couple of reasons. For one, over the past months Seth had been a loud proponent of shutdowns, quarantines, and basically any limitations done in the name of safety. We can guess that the virus has been scientifically shown to avoid television productions.


The other issue is that as Seth’s show ramps back up California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has imposed tougher lockdown standards on citizens and businesses, as well as instilling a curfew. However, for this new round of clamps placed on the public, Newsom has seen fit to grant Hollywood an exemption from his lockdown, declaring that industry as ‘’essential.’’ It becomes another example of politicians freeing up the studios from restrictions; one class of elites favoring another class of elites.

How is it explained with a straight face that restaurants need to close, churches must be shuttered, and families have to refrain from gathering together, but film and television productions are not deemed an equal threat? It not only defies common sense, it defies the very words of the politicians. As they declare ‘’science’’ as being behind the lockdowns we are lectured on how it is selfish and dangerous to want to join together with our families, but dozens of unrelated individuals working together for long hours poses no such risk.

This past weekend we saw the most viscous example of this insipid double-standard. Restaurant owner Angela Marsden posted a video from outside her establishment where she displayed the outdoor seating arrangements she put in place to follow the state’s mandates for outdoor-only seating. Newsom’s new order consequently shut down Marsden’s tent seating, however mere feet away from her arrangement a Hollywood production unit set up eight or so identical tents in order to provide catering for a television show cast and crew. Her tent was a health risk, but the multiple tents erected by Hollywood were completely safe.


You can sense the uneasy nature behind this hypocrisy when Marsden’s viral video was covered by some media outlets. NBC News had snippets of the video in a report for its Sunday version of The Today Show, but the conveniently-edited segment recast the words of the beleaguered restaurateur, as well as leaving off entirely the aspects of the entertainment production being free to operate in the shadow of her eatery. This was due to the fact that it was an NBC show -- ‘’Good Girls’’ -- that was permitted to film in that same location.

This fealty to the entertainment sector is seen in another area with some of the strictest lockdown measures -- New York. This may come as a shock, but Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill De Blasio seem to both share a convenient memory lapse with a corresponding blindspot. To go with mounting lockdowns on businesses and churches Cuomo had also put into place a strict quarantine measure. Anyone traveling from out of state would be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Unless you are Lady Gaga. It was learned that for the MTV Video Music Awards New York was waiving the travel restriction for the celebrities coming into town. So the rich and famous would not run the risk of punishment for violating the quarantine, but the anonymous travelers who are less well-off still could face jail time or a $15,000 fine. In the name of safety. 


Another celebrity dispensation was witnessed when Saturday Night Live returned. The sketch comedy show not only has been on for weeks, but somehow the cast is performing in front of a live audience. New York, while allowing productions to take place, still stipulates that these cannot involve live audiences. So how did the show get past this restriction? By cutting checks.

The state guideline says the only allowable audience can only be comprised of cast and crew members, so the show’s producers concocted a plan for this loophole -- they paid the audience to attend the show. A clever ploy, sure -- but how does this comport with the health and safety measures put in place? Sure, you found a way to slip around regulations, but how is this not regarded as a health threat? If an audience is deemed a risk, handing out payment after the production does nothing to stem that risk. This clearly shows that science plays no role in these decisions.

SNL has confirmed that they followed the reopening guidance, including selecting audience members through a third-party screening and casting process and compensating them for their time as paid audience members,” Health Department spokesman Jonah Bruno told The Post. This is insanely ignorant. If we have family over for the holidays, or elect to attend church services we are said to be killing grandma. How is a larger crowd watching a comedy show considered to be less risky, all because checks had been written for them to attend?


It is well past the time for revolt. When the elites in Hollywood are permitted to behave in a fashion that is far more dangerous than the supposedly fatal risks small businesses and citizens pose there needs to be pushback. Throw the claims of science back in their face, because the only people these politicians are listening to are the ones who pay them back in campaign donations.

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