Stacey Dash Sounds Off on Hollywood's "Antagonistic" Treatment of Conservatives
"Everybody tells me I’m racist. I’m a black Mexican. It’s absurd. White casting people have actually said to me, 'You’re not black enough,'" the actor-turned Fox News pundit tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It’s the same as stereotyping white people, with ugly sweaters at Christmas and grandma drunk on eggnog."
Actor Stacey Dash had her first role at age 18, but her breakout performance came a decade later in Clueless. Her career took a sudden political turn when she tweeted support for Republican Mitt Romney over Democrat Barack Obama in 2012, with some fans and colleagues treating her endorsement as an act of heresy. The way Dash stood up to the backlash impressed Roger Ailes, and the CEO of Fox News Channel has since hired her as a pundit. Her book, There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless to Conservative, comes out from Regnery on Monday. The Hollywood Reporter chatted with her about her political transformation, and other topics — beginning with an odd appearance at the Oscars in February.
Why did Chris Rock introduce you as the “new director of our minority outreach program” at the Oscars?
Chris Rock asked me to do it, and I was told what to say. It was a joke.
So does that mean diversity isn’t a problem in Hollywood?
It’s absolutely a problem, but a diversity outreach program won’t solve it. Movie casting being colorblind is the way to solve it. Stop segregating films. We have Black Hollywood and Hollywood. You know that, and I know that. We should get rid of black films, and everybody just make films.
Got any anecdotes suggesting Hollywood is antagonistic toward conservatives?
It’s very antagonistic. According to them, conservatives are responsible for everything bad, including what’s happening in Venezuela. That’s a joke, but not really if Bernie Sanders is elected. If that happens, we could replace the “Hollywood” sign with a big picture of Venezuela.
Do you have anecdotes that prove what you’re saying about Hollywood discriminating against conservatives?
You’ll have to read my book. I talk about Russell Simmons, and there’s also an anecdote about my casting-couch experience. There’s a lot.
Are you associated with the Hollywood conservative group Friends of Abe?
I’m not allowed to speak about that. It’s a very secretive thing.
Why is there a need for such an organization in Hollywood?
You tell me.
Some say they feel discriminated against.
People have been discriminated against for thousands of years. The ones who stand up and fight are the ones who beat it.
Can you stand up and fight in secret?
So you’re disparaging FOA?
Not really. I’m just telling them, “You know what? Grow a pair. Step up. Stand up for what you believe in.”
But did your acting offers dry up after you became a conservative?
They completely dried up.
What’s the nastiest thing someone in Hollywood has said to you about your politics?
Everybody tells me I’m racist. I’m a black Mexican. It’s absurd. White casting people have actually said to me, “You’re not black enough.” It’s the same as stereotyping white people, with ugly sweaters at Christmas and grandma drunk on eggnog. That’s not white people, and now they say black people have to think, act, speak and look a certain way in order be black enough.
What do white Hollywood liberals consider black enough?
I have no idea. Good question.
I bet you’ll see in the comment field of this story that Republicans who claim discrimination in Hollywood are just no-talent hacks making excuses for not getting jobs.
I’d say, look at my Twitter feed. Look at what the press writes. It’s very clear, right there in black and white. I’m not making it up.
What’s the worst I’d find in your Twitter feed?
“I wish Stacey Dash would fall in a sinkhole and never come out.” People tell me to kill myself. I don’t let it get to me. But I’ve been dreaming of being an actress since 8, and I was well on my way. Then, I came out as a conservative and everybody shut the door on me. I lost friends and family. What I did not lose is my dignity and my strength.
Was it worth the trade-off?
Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely.
Pay equality is a big issue in Hollywood, but your book rejects the premise.
It just has to do with negotiations. If you have Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie in a movie, who do you think will get paid more? I’d bet on Angelina Jolie, and it has nothing to do with gender. To me, that’s like playing the race card. It’s an excuse.
Why are there so few black conservatives in America?
They’ve been duped into believing the Democratic hypocrisy and policies that have been shoved down their throats for eight years by a black president. “Here’s your 40 acres and a mule. That’s all you get. Don’t try to go higher than that, because the white man won’t allow you.” I don’t think that’s true.
Can you defend conservatism, given some Hollywood liberals simply dismiss conservatives as racist homophobes?
Conservatives are open-minded and honest, and far from racist. They’re the ones who give private money to communities and churches so people can do better.
Just the fact that conservatives are anti-same-sex marriage means they’re homophobic, no?
They’re not anti-gay marriage, they’re anti-government involvement in marriage at all. Conservatives have brothers and sisters and children who are gay, and love them just the same. If they marry someone who will make them happy, who cares what a court says? The government has no business. A marriage should be in a church before God, and there are a lot of churches that marry gay couples.
Does the government have any business when it comes to transgenders and bathrooms?
No. A men’s room is for men, and a ladies’ room is for women. If a man has taken the time to become a woman, or a woman a man, then use the appropriate bathroom.
Did you say that on Entertainment Tonight?
That was misconstrued. The woman asked me an asinine question. “What if they don’t know what they are that day?” I thought that was so insulting to transgenders, who take a lot of time and thought to change. So I answered her ridiculous question with a ridiculous answer. I should have just not answered, but she made me angry. I didn’t mean to offend anybody. Of course I don’t think anybody should have to go pee in the bushes, although I have when I had to.
So you regret giving that controversial answer on ET?
No, I don’t regret it, and I’d say it again, because it was a stupid question. “What if they don’t know what they are that day?” I mean, that’s very insulting to transgender people. … It makes them look mentally challenged, or something
Are you 100 percent on board with Donald Trump, and a member of a PAC supporting him?
I am on board, but not a member of the PAC. I am now part of a coalition of women for Trump. It’s not a PAC, it’s a part of the campaign.
You talk about being broke, even after your breakthrough role in Clueless? What went wrong?
I spent too much money. No one ever taught me. I didn’t understand it. I wasn’t political back then. I only became political in 2008 when I voted for Barack Obama.
What caused you to become conservative?
I thought we needed a black president. It was gong to be brilliant. He’d unite us in a profound way. He’s going to make people in the inner city realize that anything is possible. But he did the exact opposite. He’s divided us more than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.
How do you try to convince your fellow actors that Trump is worth voting for?
There are a lot of actors who will vote for Trump. You’ll be surprised. Everybody likes their money and their guns, and everybody wants America to be strong. No one likes to be on the weak team, and right now we’re on the weak team. So that means Trump. You can’t count on a criminal or a socialist.
Who are you calling a criminal?
Oh, let me see. Hillary Clinton. Four dead in Benghazi, classified information in a server in a barn, deleting emails, getting money from Arabs, and we don’t know the quid pro quo. There are so many things.
As soon as you say “Benghazi,” Hollywood liberals say, “Oh, that’s just a Fox News talking point.”
Oh. Wow. Really? That’s sad. We all saw her say, “What difference does it make?” It doesn’t matter if you’re liberal or conservative, for someone to say that about four people dying on her watch is pretty cold and callous.
What’s it like for an actress to work at Fox News as a pundit?
It’s fascinating how it all works. It’s fair and balanced, but I’m not perfect there. I’ve gotten in trouble. I got sent to the principal’s office and got suspended. I’m Stacey Dash, and I say what I want to say, and sometimes it sounds gruff. I have to become, like Trump says, more presidential and diplomatic.
What’s it like working for Roger Ailes?
He’s the best. He’s witty, warm, gracious. That’s what makes him great.
Who are you inviting to the upcoming Donald Trump fundraisers?
I can’t tell you who. If I tell you, that’s called snitching. Where I come from, snitches get stitches.
Speaking of which, your book says you were a gang-banger?
I had to join a gang in seventh grade, so I could go to school instead of fight everyday. I had to fight everyday, so I wasn’t getting an education. When I joined a gang, I had backup. That was in the San Fernando Valley in California during forced bussing. Nobody was happy with that.
You also talk about sexual abuse?
I was 4. My parents were addicts, so I was raised by a Cuban family for the first four years of my life. It wasn’t a happy household. He was 16.
Who would you rather see win the Democratic primary and face Donald Trump?
Hillary Clinton, because she needs a good lashing.
What’s your problem with modern-day feminism?
I just think we are 21st-century feminists who can be strong, powerful and sexy. Use all the things God gave us — our legs, our eyelashes, our femininity. We have the power. We’re the mothers of the world. Be proud of what you have, use what God gave us and what men like, not in an inappropriate way. Be proud. Be strong. Be sexy.
What are you doing in Sharknado 4?
I’m the mayor of Chicago. It was really fun. I would say I’m a Republican mayor. I never even heard of Sharknado until I did it. I’m proudly going to Comic-Con for them.
Do you still advocate putting an end to Black History Month?
I do. We gave a lot more to history than one month can portray. We should be part of the curriculum 365 days a year. We’re a part of American history. Period. I thought that was the case, but apparently some people think we need a special month. Again, stop segregating. Do you want to be segregated or integrated? I want to be integrated. I want a country that’s unified. United we stand, divided we fall.
What’s your advice to a young actor who happens to be conservative?
My advice to any young actor is make sure it’s the only thing you want to do, because it is so difficult. And if you’re conservative, it’s even more difficult. But stand up for what you believe in.
Anything else you want to tell me?
If you hate me or love me, I really implore you to read my book. When I say the things I say, I’m not coming from a place of judgment. I am coming from a place of experience. I’ve been there. I’m trying to say things that will help us all.