Can Actors Do More Than Act?

A satirical response to UK columnist Rod Liddle’s self-righteous opinion on actors in activism

If Leonardo DiCaprio posts one more picture of oceanic wildlife on Instagram with a caption urging us to save the environment, I’m going to lose it. If Leo wants to help our world, why doesn’t he give the people what they really want and post a selfie?

Illustrator: Katie Heywood

Illustrator: Katie Heywood

The question of whether actors have the right to contribute to the betterment of our world has been a controversial topic for quite some time. The public indubitably gets to decide what actors can and cannot do with their lives, which only seems fair. Still, somehow actors feel they can perform charitable acts on their own merit. With no real qualifications on this topic whatsoever, UK columnist Rod Liddle settles this debate once and for all.

When I first stumbled upon Rod Liddle’s recent excerpt in the The Sun, I thought, “At last, a highly irritable, misogynistic, old white man to tell me what to think!”

Liddle’s controversial remarks were in response to the speech Emma Watson gave at the recent United Nations summit in New York. She delivered a powerful speech about the grotesque level of gender inequality and sexual violence prevalent on university campuses across the globe.

At 26 years old, Watson is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN, a Brown University alumnus, and a feminist icon — but Rod Liddle reminds us that her only noteworthy accomplishment involves waving a wand in front of a camera. I agree, Rod, her qualifications are dismal to say the least.

Liddle reports, “Hermione Granger has been addressing the United Nations General Assembly. Nope, not kidding.” He adds, “Instead of telling them all the rules of Quidditch or how to turn someone into a frog, she bored them all rigid with whining, leftie, PC crap. Just like all actresses do if people are stupid enough to give them the chance.”

The “whining, leftie, PC crap” Watson droned on about was her feminist coalition’s latest groundbreaking project: HeForShe’s IMPACT 10x10x10 University Parity Report. This program charts the progress of several globally renowned universities as they work towards achieving gender parity. The program spans across eight different countries, affecting over 40,000 faculty members and 700,000 students in collegiate education.

I know what you’re thinking. I wasn’t all that impressed, either.

Liddle concludes his irrefutable argument by saying, “I don’t object to [actresses] having views and expressing them. I just don’t understand why we take them seriously.”

Not long after Liddle’s article hit the stands, many people publicly condemned him on social media for exemplifying the very sexism Watson was referring to in her speech. After letting his remarks simmer for a little over a week, Liddle so nobly published yet another article in The Sun. Only this time, he wrote a backhanded apology, somehow still unable to refer to Emma Watson by her real name.

“I was stupid enough to say nasty things about Hermione Granger — you know, that lass from Harry Potter who was good at spells and shagged Ron Weasley. I think.”

In his “apology,” Liddle broadens his initial and impressively narrow-minded argument by not only scrutinizing female actresses, but also all actors regardless of gender. He does this by mentioning once that Bono’s charitable efforts are annoying too, then quickly returns to what he knows best: critiquing women.

“There is no greater reason to invite Emma Watson to address the UN General Assembly than there is to invite your local butcher, plumber or cab driver,” he adds.

I suggest you take Rod Liddle’s advice and commission your local plumber for assistance in dismantling the patriarchy instead.

How dare Watson use her global recognition to speak out against gender inequality and sexual violence for the myriad of women told to stay silent? Sure, actors can be powerful sounding boards for the millions of voices around the world that are not heard, but that’s not important. I suggest you take Rod Liddle’s advice and commission your local plumber for assistance in dismantling the patriarchy instead.

Some may make the accusation that what Liddle wrote isn’t journalism, it’s misogyny hiding behind a keyboard. Some may try to argue that gender inequality and sexual assault should be bipartisan issues. Some may even go so far as to describe Rod Liddle as a bigot with clouded judgment who talks so much about issues he knows so little about.

It is with the utmost confidence and complete and utter lack of substantial evidence that I assure you that those people are wrong.

I commend you, Rod Liddle. If only we had a man of your exceptional temperament and stamina over here across the pond. We should be so lucky.