Boycott the Oscars? Why Not Boycott Everything!?

oscarsThe focus of the political world will be on California Sunday when several political speeches are bound to take over the Oscars. According to one account, the Oscars broadcast, which lost viewers last year, could rebound over the expectation of hearing these political speeches. Or there could be a boycott of the broadcast in anticipation of speeches blasting President Donald Trump.

That would be in line with the current political strategy that seems to be capturing activists of all political stripes in this divided country: Boycott everything!

When Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank praised Trump’s business agenda, social media exploded with a hashtag to boycott the company.

With Elon Musk agreeing to serve on Trump’s business advisory committee, customers reportedly canceled auto orders.

Boycott campaigns were aimed at retailers such as New Balance, Macy’s and L.L. Bean because company officials said kind words about Trump’s business or trade policies.

Of course, there was the blowup over Nordstrom’s dumping Ivanka Trump’s fashion line which saw counter campaigns to either support or boycott Nordstrom’s over its decision.

The boycott strategy could also find itself in state law if Senator Ricardo Lara gets his way. Lara’s Senate Bill 30 would prohibit the state government from doing business with any individual or organization that assists in construction of a federal border wall along the California-Mexico border. Consider this a state sanctioned boycott.

I’ve tackled the issue of boycott before: In the free speech universe, boycotts themselves are a form of free speech, an individual expressing an opinion by choosing not to buy (or the obverse — to buy to support a business’ decision). On the other hand, boycotts can have a chilling effect on free speech by discouraging expression by business owners and others.

Of course, California business is not unfamiliar with boycotts. The boycott against grape growers organized by the United Farm Workers is well remembered. More recently, some Southern Baptists organized a boycott against Disney.

Boycotts to make political points have been encouraged by Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and President Jimmy Carter during the 1980 Moscow Olympics. A petition signed by supposedly 700,000 people called for a boycott against Target stores after the retailer announced transgender people are welcome to use the restrooms that they identify with the most.

What if all these boycotts were successful beyond the imaginings of their supporters? Some businesses would be shut down. Some voices would lack an audience.

But a major goal of boycotts is shut off debate and that is a dangerous thing. Our great civic divide would deepen because people are not talking to each other.

I still believe in the marketplace of ideas. Discerning good ideas from bad takes debate and discussion. Cutting off and threatening to cut off people or institutions that want to voice their opinion ill serves democracy.

ditor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee.

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Comments

  1. How can people get their point across when government shuts down free speech? How can free speech be carried on campuses when school government shuts down free speech? With wallets. I will always speak and vote with my wallet and feet. Drastic times call for drastic measures…see Target stock value.

  2. I’ve been boycotting the “Oscars” for years. I can’t imagine watching a bunch of actors patting themselves on their backs for “acting”. A car mechanic has more respect from me than any of those clowns, especially deCaprio sucked into the global/climate/warming hoax. What in the hell makes him an expert?

    • True Teacher says

      Good point. Also, who anointed Shia Le’bouf competent to speak on socio-political affairs. He’s another idiot.

  3. Boycotting the Oscars is not shutting down debate. It is just a way to let those rich, elitist, out of touch, condescending assholes know, that I will not be lectured or lied to. Just because they have a platform that ordinary people don’t have, doesn’t give their bullshit any more credence than my neighbor deserves.

  4. Oscar Meyer has the Weinermobile, where you can get a delicious hot-dog;
    The “Academy” has The Oscars, where a bunch of Dicks make fools of themselves.

  5. Boycotting, something in this case is as simple as changing the channel hits the broadcasting network carrying the issue. Ratings, ratings, and more ratings get their attention. Advertisers pay big money for their ads to be seen. If producers would tell them to pretty much “just say something nice about your award, and shut up about anything else, this isn’t a political event” I think I’d lighten up a bit. They do more harm than good to the meaning of any awards event by using it for political reasons. So cut off the microphones and lets get on with ‘entertainment’. Someone who works hard and pays their taxes means something. How bout seeing an actors tax return or two? I need a break from the world’s drama. I’ll read, listen, and decide my politics elsewhere.

  6. LeRoy Foster says

    It’s unforunate that so many viewers of the Oscar event missed the early years. I first heard the Oscars on radio and when the transfer to TV brought the event live into our homes it was a delight. I no longer look forward to this “event”. The glamour and snappy dialog are long gone; nothing of value has taken it’s place.

  7. The thing about awarding oscars to actors while they are still alive is making me fearful of giving the darlings the BIGHEAD. So in order to keep “THE ACTORS” on the same planet as the rest of us unworthy deplorables I would like to suggest awarding the recognition posthumously. The sooner the better.

  8. Dr Richard M says

    Should give awards for best fool ,best lowlife ,best troll ,best asshole,best punk–think Moron Sheep would get best fool and looney clooney best loon and fat moore -best documentary of a blimp

  9. I can guarantee you, I will boycott the Oscars. I will not listen to these “America Haters.” V.I. Lenin knew what he was talking about when discussing “useful idiots.”

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