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Operation Boomerang

Dear Hollywood: Learn to Code

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

And the Oscar for the complete lack of self-awareness goes too…Hollywood actors! As our nation continues to endure the, ahem, unbearable nightmare of the SAG-AFTRA union strike, it is time to reflect on the industries that we enjoy, and those we simply cannot live without.


According to the Motion Picture Association, the film and television industry supports 2.4 million jobs with 822,000 of those being direct jobs, presumably including the 150,000 actors currently on strike.  When it comes to revenue, the MPA says Hollywood accounts for $186 billion in total wages with $81 billion paid directly. That’s a lot of jobs and a lot of money, no doubt. However, context is key.

America’s oil and natural gas industry totals 10.3 million jobs and provides a whopping 8 percent of our entire nation’s gross domestic product. The energy sector provides  an outrageous $1.7 trillion to the American economy. To put it another way, the positive economic impact of the oil and natural gas industry is over 9 times higher than the film and television industry.  

By the way, that is a conservative estimate because it does not include the contributions of the hard-working men and women of the coal industry. The very same industry President Joe Biden is working to destroy every day. You might recall when asked what displaced coal miners were supposed to do, Biden arrogantly told them to “learn to code.”

The results of the current dynamic are clear: if Hollywood goes on strike, we might have to wait a few months for new episodes of hit shows. If the American energy industry stops working, our way of life screeches to a halt. Despite these facts, our friends in Hollywood enjoy a massively disproportionate advantage when it comes to shaping energy policy in America.


The list of elites that tweet, picket, and fundraise against American energy is too long to list. Take Mark Ruffalo, whose lack of self-awareness represents their collective retreat from common sense. On one Saturday, Ruffalo is supporting strike picket lines with his fellow elites. Then, two days later he’s telling his followers that they should seek out oil executives and “Sue them, shame them, heckle them, despise them.” Ruffalo, and the rest of his Hollywood eco-elites, see no contradiction in the struggle for their own jobs while using their influence to destroy jobs in a much more meaningful industry. 

Ruffalo and the rest of the A-list crowd also conveniently ignore just how often they come to taxpayers for a handout. Today, 35 states offer the film industry subsidies or tax credits in an effort to lure the industry to their part of the country. Perhaps nowhere else is this Hollywood deadbeat mentality on display more than New Mexico.

Second only to neighboring Texas in oil production, the Land of Enchantment received  nearly half of all state revenue this year from the oil and gas industry. In other words, for every dollar spent by the state, nearly 50 cents derive from the revenue of “evil” fossil fuels. New Mexico also offers millions of dollars in friendly film tax credits to Mr. Ruffalo and his ilk. This is a state that takes in billions from the industry actors hate, and then turns around and gives those same Hollywood eco-hypocrites subsidies and massive tax breaks. 


Mark Ruffalo may hate the oil and gas industry, but I bet he is happy to take the paychecks. 

There is no doubt that without oil, gas and coal their entire Hollywood industry is dead. The fact that many of the actors currently on strike constantly demonize the energy industry so vital to our way of life goes well beyond simply being out-of-touch – it is dangerously self-unaware and stupid. It goes beyond the amazing contradictions of railing on the evils of climate change from the comfy confines of their private jets. 

Some claim this Hollywood strike could do irreparable harm to the entire film and television industry. If all those actors, and their bloated sense of importance, find themselves out of a job they need look no further than the President they love for some advice: Learn to code.

Larry Behrens is the Communications Director for Power The Future and is the author of the new book, “Sabotage: How Joe Biden Surrendered American Energy Independence.” He’s also appeared on Fox News, Newsmax and One America News. You can find him on Twitter at @larrybehrens or email at larry@powerthefuture.com.

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