With the box office tanking, they need something to do.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – On a recent Thursday night, more than 100 people in Hollywood turned their attention to politics. They mingled with Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti inside a hip piano bar lighted by a sign that screamed “OMG WTF.”
The sign stands for a political action committee that supports Democrats running for state posts in Republican-controlled Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Texas and Florida – OMG WTF being the first letters of each state.
But the acronym is also a “sentiment we all feel on a daily basis,” Ben Sheehan, a former producer of “Funny or Die” comedy videos, told the crowd to laughs.
Hollywood has been at the forefront of the political resistance to President Donald Trump, using awards shows, social media and donations to promote progressive positions on issues from immigration to gun control.
Now, the entertainment industry is using its star power and creativity to support down-ballot candidates in the Nov. 6 elections. Down-ballot races are typically state and local positions that are listed on voting ballots below national posts.
This approach is part of the way Hollywood is rewriting its script for political action following Trump’s shock election in 2016.
Every four years, celebrities headline fundraisers and hit the campaign trail for presidential hopefuls. A lengthy roster from Katy Perry to George Clooney and LeBron James endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump’s rival.
But A-list entertainers typically have been less visible in midterm elections, and when they have appeared, it has been for high-profile races. On Sunday, pop singer Taylor Swift broke her silence on politics to endorse Democratic candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate in Tennessee.
After Trump took office and started instituting policies such as a travel ban for people from several Muslim-majority nations, Hollywood talent grew eager to push back, according to political strategists, who took a hard look at how the industry could respond most effectively.