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28 Jan, 2022 15:42

Cancel culture branded ‘replica’ of McCarthyism

Lucille Ball facing accusations of communism in ‘Being the Ricardos’ is reflective of Hollywood today, the actor says
Cancel culture branded ‘replica’ of McCarthyism

‘Being the Ricardos’ star Javier Bardem’s latest interview promoting the movie included making a connection between McCarthyism and open blacklists in ‘50s Hollywood to the effects of cancel culture today. 

“It speaks about something that is happening today in some way, in some weird way,” Bardem told CNN this week about the Amazon Prime film, after a clip was shown of Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and husband Desi Arnaz (Bardem) discussing a troubling accusation of Ball being a communist, at a time when such a claim could derail a career. 

The film, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, follows a week in the production of the real-life sitcom ‘I Love Lucy’ and the various behind-the-scenes drama that unfolds, including Ball facing the communist accusation. 

McCarthyism, named after the late Joseph McCarthy, who led hearings questioning suspected communists in the ‘50s, gives ‘Being the Ricardos’ a “resonance” today, Bardem said, as cancel culture is a “little bit of a replica” of McCarthy’s aggressive public hearings and subsequent shaming and professional backlash.

“People were pointed out for crimes of the past that were not legally proven and they were damned by this. They were destroyed. Lives were destroyed. Careers were destroyed, as we know. And that’s why the movie has resonance today, unfortunately. It’s not about communism or not communism. It’s about the witch hunt,” Bardem, a Spanish actor famous for roles in hit films like ‘No Country for Old Men’ and ‘Skyfall’, told CNN. 

Bardem has pushed back against cancel culture situations in the past, even defending his former collaborator Woody Allen, a director who has seen multiple actors express regret over working with him due to sexual assault allegations that have been public for years, but which gained extra attention recently thanks to the #MeToo movement and an HBO documentary. The accusations have been investigated multiple times, with no charges being brought against the filmmaker, and Bardem is not among the growing list of actors who regret working with the Oscar-winning director. The two previously collaborated on 2008’s ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’. 

“If the legal situation ever changes, then I’d change my mind. But for now I don’t agree with the public lynching that he’s been receiving, and if Woody Allen called me to work with him again I’d be there tomorrow morning. He’s a genius,” the actor said in 2018.