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Conservative Creatives: An Untapped Market or a Greater Social Divide?

The recent firing of Gina Carano rekindled the ongoing conversation on conservative creatives in Hollywood. Fellow actors and creators such as Jon Voight and Nick Loeb have not been shy about their opinions, which have led to recurring criticism from the rest of the entertainment industry. Many believe that outspoken conservatives don’t really have a spot in Hollywood and are either shut down or fired to avoid discourse. Yet, the question of missed profits and markets has been raised.

The results of the recent election proved that there is a potentially large market for content created by conservative creatives as well as the response from the release of multiple films that would fall under that category. Big names like Ben Shapiro are willingly giving creators the platform they need to distribute and it’s only a matter of time before they make their way onto streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix. While this may make it seem like there is a strong need for more of this content, will it ultimately just widen the political divide that is already so vast? 

Gina Carano has quickly gone from being a part of one of the biggest TV shows to what most would consider blacklisted in Hollywood. She was fired a little over a month ago for a string of social media posts in which she gave her viewpoint on certain topics. These included posts in which she compared being conservative in America to being Jewish in Nazi Germany and tweeting about needing to “fix the system” amid claims the election was rigged which can be found in an article by Lee Brown. Now, the only places you can find news on her are directly from her Twitter account, fan-based blogs, or more conservative-leaning websites like Deseret.com.

Many speculate that Disney will not rehire the actress, which has influenced other companies to turn their backs as well. Some have been critical of the company’s decision due to their “uncanceling” of other controversial creators in the past. Regardless, this decision appears to be more final. Rather than receding into the shadows, Carano has instead chosen to become a content creator. Hollywood Reporter article dives into the budding partnership between her and Ben Shapiro, head of The Daily Wire, and has agreed to help produce it. While it’s unclear what it’ll be about, the other projects that have been acquired or backed by the platform can help to give viewers a good idea of the direction it might take. 

Recently, The Daily Wire distributed the film Run Hide Fight (2020), which focuses on a teen girl who tries to survive a shooting at her high school (ironically, this is the same slogan used by the government to educate people about what to do if they are part of an active shooter event). The film premiered at Venice Film Festival in 2020 and is now available for free on the platform. The Daily Wire claims that it had a successful launch but it’s curious to see if the projects they distribute will be exclusive to the platform or attempt to go elsewhere. This speculation is based on the content of the film as well as the people behind it. An article from The Daily Beast goes into the torrid pasts of the producers for the film who have either been arrested for sexual assault or knowingly turned a blind eye. Due to this, it doesn’t seem as if this project is the best one to help The Daily Wire break into distribution in modern Hollywood. Yet, the question is, is modern Hollywood their target? 

 In Siegel’s article, she comments about how various sources have said that Amazon will most likely push back against this type of content being shown through its streaming service. Regardless of this, other films mentioned in the article, The Plot Against the President and Roe v. Wade, are currently available to stream through the platform. Nick Loeb in Siegel’s article touches on taboo topics by saying, There’s only two things you cannot be in Hollywood: pro-Trump and pro-life.” Each movie focuses on one of the two. All three films didn’t have the biggest marketing campaigns which might have meant that they either expected the backlash or just wanted to reach directly to their target audience. On the other hand, a film like The Hunt could be considered just as controversial but for different reasons. 

The Hunt (2020) caused quite a stir when it first released trailers which in turn caused its release date to be canceled and rescheduled. The film is about a group of wealthy elites who kidnap and hunt down others for fun. An article written by Rachel Greenspan for Time goes into the layers of controversy that surround the film, the main one being that it seems to pit the political right against the political left. In the main trailer that dropped, the wealthy “elites” are being portrayed to come off as liberals while those being hunted are seemingly normal people. Yet, an earlier Hollywood Reporter article leaks lines from the screenplay that calls them “deplorables” which was a term coined by Hillary Clinton when describing those who were voting for Trump. This was one of the two reasons the movie was highly talked about. The other being that the trailers debuted right after several mass shootings took place in El Paso and Dayton. When comparing this film to the earlier ones, it seems as if this one was purposely trying to make a splash. If this is the case, is the more liberal side of Hollywood worried about what the conservative side could try to create?

Just to play devil’s advocate, there is a possible place for media created by conservative creatives. While our country is moving toward becoming a more progressive union, there is an argument for Hollywood to try to be accepting of the fact that 70 million people voted for Trump at the last election. While this may seem like an outlandish idea, there is seemingly a market that is both creating and wanting to see these films put out there. Countless creators have seemingly been “canceled” by most but have found a new home where they can freely express their thoughts and still be in films and on tv. The “quieter” marketing techniques of Nick Loeb’s and The Daily Wire’s distribution help to keep each of these films from blowing up on social media and creating the same stir that The Hunt did. This in turn helps to keep the political divide from getting any bigger than it needs to be. Regardless, the opportunities for these films should not create a safe haven for those who should be held accountable like the producers for Run Fight Hide

Gina Carano has found a new home with Ben Shapiro and maybe other “fallen stars” will gravitate in that same direction.  Will this “new” type of media seep into the mainstream or stay in front of the audience it was intended for? Will the ideas for these project become more political and edgy if these creatives are allowed that? Rather than closing the general political divide, will this create a new one within Hollywood? It will be interesting to see what Gina Carano creates and if this event turns the tides when it comes to the type of content coming out of Hollywood.