They meet surreptitiously in bars, restaurants, and private homes. They live in constant fear that they might be discoverd. If they were, it might mean the virtual end to their careers. They never speak of their activities and on those rare occasions they speak to the press, they refuse to give the names of any one else in the group.
Who are these folks? Anti-Communist rebels? Freedom fighters from some woebegone dictatorship? Maybe an al-Qaeda cell bent on destroying us?
Nope. They're Hollywood conservatives:
That such a thing is necessary in America is sickening but also quite revealing. For all their talk of "tolerance" liberals in Hollywood are a bunch of blowhards. They only tolerate those who agree with them. All others are the devil incarnate.
The group, whose members call themselves "Friends of Abe" after Abraham Lincoln, was organized as an underground movement because of fears that prominent industry titans with outspoken liberal views would retaliate, said participants. They often were reluctant to name members of the group in interviews for fear it would hurt their careers.
"It's a growing movement, and word is getting out that there's many of us in this business ...," said 1950s singer Pat Boone, one of the few conservatives to talk about the movement publicly. "If certain studio execs - hirers and firers - learn that this is a movement and growing, and that some of these people that they hire are of this inclination, these people could be unemployed."
Friends of Abe has functioned like a support group, organizing informal gatherings where actors, producers, screenwriters, key grips and other industry types can share common values or discuss concerns like anti-Americanism in Hollywood movies or the perception of industry bias against conservatives and Republicans.
This article written by a television writer named Bert Prelutsky gives a first hand account of such hate and intolerance for conservatives:
A project with a conservative take on issues has as much chance of being made in Hollywood as a movie without sex - few and far between.
With that, he pointed his finger in my face and announced, with eyes blazing and spittle flying in my direction, "You're George Bush!"
"And you, Gene, are an idiot."
"Don't you dare call me an idiot! I didn't call you names."
"Of course you did. When you call me George Bush, we both know that's your idea of the ultimate obscenity. Compared to that, calling you an idiot is almost a compliment."
What made Gene's outrage over my lack of decorum so amusing is that I knew something that he didn't know I knew. Back in 2001, you see, shortly after the presidential inauguration, a friend of mine and his wife were invited to a Hollywood cocktail party. By the time they arrived, most of the other guests had gathered in the living room. As the two of them entered, one of the guests proudly announced, "Well, I, personally, don't know a single a-hole who voted for George Bush." At which point, my friend said, "Well, you do now."
The fellow who felt entitled to make that public announcement in a room with ladies and maybe even a few conservatives present was none other than Gene.
Good luck to those few in Hollywood who follow the beat of that different drummer and refuse to walk in lockstep with the rest of the industry.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky