Ed Asner Refutes Claims of Giving Republicans the Silent Treatment
Left-wing activist Ed Asner said that -- despite rumors to the contrary -- he is not so intolerant of colleagues who lean right that he would disassociate himself from them. He'd simply refrain from discussing politics with them.
Asner was responding to a story revealed a week ago by actor Morgan Brittany, who said at a Republican convention that when Asner found out she wasn't a typical Hollywood liberal, he stopped speaking to her.
Brittany was recounting a play that the two starred in during the time of the Florida recount a decade ago that made George W. Bush president over challenger Al Gore.
"I can't even look at you. I can't even talk to you," the Dallas actor recalled Asner telling her after she revealed she was a Republican. "From that moment on, he never spoke to me again, except on stage."
But Asner told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday that he doesn't recall the episode.
"My memory is not good, but I sure as hell don't remember doing a play with Morgan Brittany. I don't even know what she looks like."
(For the record, playwright Jerry Mayer confirmed that Asner and Brittany starred about a decade ago in an "Audioplay" of his work Almost Perfect, which is not technically a stage play but a CD version of a play that Brittany and Asner recorded together at the Santa Monica Playhouse.)
Asner acknowledged, though, that his reaction to Hollywood conservatives isn't always warm and fuzzy, but that just manifests in his avoiding the subject once he learns that a colleague is his political opposite. He used his relationship with Jon Voight as an example.
"If I can talk to him, I can talk to anybody. He's about as right wing as you can get," Asner said. But if he ever did talk about politics with Voight? "I'd have a hard time with my anger," Asner said.
If an episode similar to the one Brittany described were to happen today, "I'd probably make a joke of it -- as we do -- and say, 'Well, I certainly can't hang around with you.' But I'd never be as open as she suggests. I'm more duplicitous than that," he joked.
"But she implied I dissed her totally, and I think that's a lie," he said.
Asner, who is touring as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the one-man show "FDR," has been one of the most politically active celebrities in Hollywood for several decades, so THR got his take on a few of today's issues.