Editor's Space

Intolerance and Incivility Once Again Reign at Tony Awards

I rarely watch the show business awards shows, like the Emmys, Oscars and Tonys. I just can’t stand being lectured by a bunch of actors who think they are the role models for public behavior. Their arrogance and self-righteousness gets under my skin.

I watched very little of this year’s Tony Awards ceremony that was broadcast last Sunday evening.  But I did catch one snippet of an acceptance speech in which someone (I can’t recall who it was) called the theater community the standard bearers for public morality.  No joke!  That’s what he said.

So, if Robert DeNiro’s foul mouth tirade against the President of the United States and the standing ovation that it elicited from the elites in the seats was any indication of public decency, then I’m left shaking my head in bewilderment at what’s going on in the theater crowd.

No one puts things in perspective better than my friend Bill Donohue, the president of The Catholic League.

“Tolerance. Inclusion. Civility. The New York – Hollywood axis may shout these virtues from the rooftop, but in practice they violate them with regularity. There are no bigger phonies on earth,” wrote Donohue in a scathing review of this year’s Tony Awards.

Donohue rightly pointed out that playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America) who pleaded with the audience to “heal our country,” is the same guy with a record of bashing Catholics and Jews.  Great way to heal, Tony!

Kushner once cheered when Terence McNally gave us “Corpus Christi,” the play that depicted Jesus as having sex with his 12 Apostles. Kushner loved that! He showed very little concern about Catholics when it came to ridiculing their beliefs!

When a gay man was killed in Wyoming several years ago, Kushner blamed the murder on Pope John Paul II, who, he said, endorsed murder. And, as Donohue points out, Kushner has been “relentless in his bashing the democratic state of Israel.”

Andrew Garfield, who won best actor acclaim, used his acceptance speech to lambast the Supreme Court for guaranteeing the Constitutional right of baker Jack Phillips not to design a wedding cake for a gay couple. No sense of compassion for the baker who has been dragged through the courts for five years and had his life threatened for his beliefs.

These people have the right to say whatever they want from the stage of Broadway. They can pitch their looniness with whatever words they wish. But I have the right to shut off the television and never watch any of it in the future.

These folks who think they are the moral compass of the universe are making it more and more obvious that they know very little about tolerance or civility.

I’m siding with the majority of Americans who will refuse to go to the box office the next time Robert DeNiro stars in a motion picture or walks onto a stage. And when Middle America visits New York and skips buying tickets for a Broadway show, these self-proclaimed paragons of virtue will have no one to blame but themselves.

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