Jeremiah G. Dys:
As one who has built his career upon plying and defending the First Amendment’s provisions of free speech, I watched with interest the now viral Golden Globes speech of Theo Kingma, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. His words, given as a welcome to what may otherwise be considered an overpriced dinner accompanying one of the greatest acts of self-congratulation in media marketing, were inspiring.
Kingma’s words stand out in recent memory as unmatched by any Hollywood insider: “Together we will stand united against anyone who would repress free speech anywhere from North Korea to Paris.
It was this principle of free speech that helped fuel the Revolution in this country and, as enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution, is “a beacon that has reflected across the globe,” as Kingma so rightly describes. So synonymous is the concept of the American brand of liberty with the freedom of speech that one fails to distinguish between them.
As Kingma must appreciate, it is this freedom of speech that has actuated the very industry he addressed as they gathered in award celebration. Could Hollywood exist in Mao’s China? Stalin’s Russia? Hitler’s Germany? Would it find itself as unbridled in terms of speech and artistic expression as it is permitted here if it were relocated to today’s Syria? Yesterday’s Iran? Or tomorrow’s North Korea?
Kingma understands that the answer to such rhetorical questions is undoubtedly, “No.” That is precisely why his speech brought the luminaries of the silver and small screens to their feet. It is right and proper for us to stand against the suppression of the freedom of speech. Mr. Kingma is to be commended for setting his jaw squarely against the enemies of free speech.
It is in that spirit that I offer the following challenge: To any actor, producer, director, or member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, I challenge you to demonstrate your ongoing support of the freedom of speech by tweeting your support for marriage between one man and one woman.
If one does so and successfully avoids Hollywood’s infamous blacklist, you will complete my respect of your industry’s appreciation for free speech.