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Hollywood Reporter Published a Column Criticizing Actors for Speaking Out Against Hitler and Nazi Germany

The Hollywood Reporter is an American magazine focusing on Hollywood film, TV, and entertainment. It was founded in 1930 by William R. Wilkerson in Los Angeles, California. But did you know that the firm used to criticize celebrities who spoke against Hitler?

In 1937, The Hollywood Reporter ran a column criticizing actors for speaking out against Nazi Germany. The newspaper’s managing editor chastised celebrities for speaking up against Nazi Germany and Hitler.

The Hollywood Reporter and Hitler

The excerpt included a quote attributed to Frank Pope, the managing editor of the entertainment industry trade publication The Hollywood Reporter (THR), from a column he wrote in 1937 criticizing movie stars for speaking out on political issues.

The Hollywood stars who are so earnest — and so public — in their sympathies for anti-Nazism, anti-fascism and other antis, are doing more harm to themselves than good to the causes they sponsor, How long will it be before the unpopularity which they certainly will gather, in some countries, will begin to affect their screen standing and, later perhaps, their salaries?

The Hollywood Reporter

The quote and excerpt are from Thomas Patrick Doherty’s Hollywood and Hitler column, which ran from 1933-1939. (Source: Snopes)

Thomas Patrick Doherty and Awareness of the American Public

Doherty, a Brandeis University professor of American Studies, told us that Pope’s viewpoint represented the mainstream opinion of Hollywood distributors and film moguls at the time, as the film industry was wary of portraying Nazis negatively to avoid alienating what was then the world’s second-largest film market.

However, Doherty claims that anti-Nazi sentiment in the film industry led to the formation of the popular front, a loose alliance of actors and screenwriters who engaged in off-screen activism. The Hollywood Anti-Nazi League was formed in 1936 as a result of increased political activity among this group:

This was a group that wanted to raise American consciousness about Nazism and they incorporated a lot of Hollywood stars and screenwriters and directors to get publicity for their cause. The segment that was going around on the Twittersphere was about how the studio moguls who looked upon, especially, their stars as their own private property that they had nurtured and developed were leery of having the stars use their star charisma for a political cause. Because at the time, the thinking was, “If you want to send a message, use Western Union.” And they looked upon the stars as their kind-of private property.

Patrick Doherty, Writer, Hollywood and Hitler Column

Doherty also stated that any type of activism in the film industry was new at the time and posed a particular political risk for studios due to the restrictions imposed by the Hays Code:

This was at a time when the government could censor movies. Film had no First Amendment rights. Any time the film industry kind of pressed against the government, there was always the fear that the government would found a federal motion picture censorship bureau, which they could have done before 1952 when the Supreme Court gave film First Amendment rights.

Patrick Doherty, Writer, Hollywood and Hitler Column

(Source: Snopes)

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