It’s Election Day in America, meaning a whole lot of ostensibly liberal celebrities are putting out their one political social media post a year while telling you to vote to change the world, just as they hoard virtually all the wealth necessary for such change! Case in point: the varying Hollywood elites going to bat for Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso.
As Jezebel’s Audra Heinrichs noted in June, the real estate mogul and former chair of the University of Southern California’s Board of Trustees raked in the support of big names like Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Elon Musk, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Snoop Dogg ahead of his June primary. The support from celebrities who generally market themselves as liberal and “feminist,” even—Perry performed for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, for instance—is pretty eyebrow-raising. Caruso poured over $100 million of his own money into his campaign, which he spent advocating for policies to further dehumanize poor and unhoused people in the city. It stands to reason that if he actually cared about addressing LA’s ongoing housing crisis, he might’ve spent that $100 million in other ways.
Further, the billionaire—who was a Republican until 2019 but is running as a Democrat—helped USC cover up the full extent of damage inflicted by a school gynecologist who sexually assaulted thousands of female students between 1991 and 2016. Caruso has a record of donating to anti-abortion politicians, and just this week, USC Caruso Catholic Center, to which Caruso donated $6 million, shared a now-deleted Instagram post opposing California’s Prop 1, a ballot measure to establish a constitutional right to abortion in the state.
Caruso’s list of Hollywood backers has only grown—and certainly, grown more intolerable—since June, seeing recent additions like Chris Pratt, famous for being everyone’s lowest-ranked celebrity-Chris, and Noah Centineo of Netflix YA rom-com fame. But Perry, in particular, has gone to bat for Caruso the hardest, inexplicably sharing a TikTok shaming male politicians for knowing nothing about women’s bodies and a video of herself voting for Caruso within hours of each other. It’s the lack of self-awareness for me!
Perry, who practically went on tour with Clinton in 2016, has since been very publicly dragged to hell for the glaring hypocrisy of purporting to support abortion rights while voting for a right-wing billionaire posing as a Democrat. Her recent posts about politics urging fans to vote have been inundated by replies questioning or mocking or quite literally despairing of her support for Caruso. On Instagram, Perry appeared to disable comments on her post showing her pro-Caruso ballot by Monday afternoon, after commenters swarmed the post pointing out the hypocrisy.
And yet… is it really hypocritical for extremely wealthy people to vote for an extremely wealthy man, who will inevitably wield his power to ensure they remain extremely wealthy? It may be hypocritical to the extent that Perry or any of these celebs pose as “feminists” while endorsing a man who donated to anti-abortion extremists and held top leadership positions at USC while it tried to bury sexual assault survivors. But it’s not exactly surprising for women like Kardashian or Perry or Paltrow to protect their class interests through abhorrent electoral decisions.
The reasons they’ve given for supporting Caruso are almost comically stupid. Pratt—a controversial figure for his ties to a famously anti-LGBTQ church and his sheriff brother’s links to a far-right militia group—stressed that Caruso and his tough-on-crime policies will address the “rising crime” and increasingly decrepit condition of the city. But what does he or any other rich celebrity know about what’s actually happening outside their limousines, beyond their visceral disgust from occasionally being forced to look at an unhoused person?
Similarly, what does Caruso, a literal billionaire, know about crime or how to keep anyone safe, beyond giving the LAPD more money to lock up more impoverished people? Sure, investing essentially the entirety of the city budget into the police department has never worked before, but let’s try again, shall we?
All of this nonsense really makes you appreciate the rare celebrity wisdom of someone like Veep alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus, noted fundraiser for local abortion funds, who shared a thorough thread supporting Democratic former Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) for LA mayor and taking Caruso to task for his shitty record.
Los Angeles, may I recommend going with Selina on this one??