Emmys emulate Hollywood’s shortcomings



The cast and crew of “Game of Thrones” accepting the Outstanding Drama Series award during the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Monday. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, Hollywood’s biggest awards show for television, contained everything from funny stand-up to an awe-inspiring lineup of of celebrities — everything except for a sizable viewing audience. The Emmys’ ratings — like the 2018 Oscars — hit an all-time low for this year’s Monday night event, falling nearly 20 percent from 2017.

This dramatic drop in viewership proves that Hollywood has lost touch with everyday Americans — on all sides of the political spectrum. And this becomes more clear with every passing awards season.

Conservative Twitter users and pundits alike decried politically correct jokes in hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che’s opening monologue.

“Whether it’s the NFL or the Emmys, people desperately want a break from politics,” conservative strategist Chris Barron told Fox News. “It’s amazing to me at just how tone deaf Hollywood is.”

But Hollywood has received copious amounts of criticism from the left as well. The headline story from the 2016 Oscars was the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Outraged liberals took to Twitter to condemn the lack of diversity in that year’s nominees — all of whom were, for the second year in a row, white.

“If you can count on one hand the number of people from a particular marginalized community that were on stage last night, and still have fingers left over? You’re not doing enough,” activist and #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign told The L.A. Times.

Hollywood has managed to alienate nearly every population in America. Since the vast majority of Hollywood stars and producers are wealthy white men, Hollywood’s attempts to appeal to a liberal population that values diversity seem phony and plastic.

Most wealthy white men vote Republican, so it’s expected that Hollywood would be a conservative institution. But its insistence on criticizing Republicans has left a dent in its popularity with Trump-voting middle America as well.

Huge stars like Meryl Streep and Oprah both publicly excoriated the president at the Golden Globes in 2017 and 2018 during their award acceptance speeches, and talked about the importance of empowering women and people of color.

But given the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, it’s clear Hollywood doesn’t empower people of color. It doesn’t give much opportunity to newcomers either — members of the Academy, who vote for the winners, are also Hollywood mainstays, so it’s very difficult to break into the Hollywood stronghold.

Ultimately, Hollywood actors don’t care about the average American or the political causes they claim to stand for. As awards shows like the Emmys prove, they only care about glorifying themselves.

Hollywood has an elitism problem and it has a messaging problem — average Americans don’t want to be lectured by rich white celebrities, and the ratings show it.

If awards shows like the Emmys want to return to their former glory, they should skip the politics, skip the self-aggrandizement and just stick to entertainment.