Samuel L. Jackson on President-Elect Trump: "Hopefully He Won't Destroy Hollywood"
"I think now people like me are feeling the way that all those people who hated Barack [Obama] felt for the last eight years. It's just a flip," the actor, speaking at the Dubai International Film Festival on Friday, told attendees during a roundtable discussion.
Throughout the presidential election, Samuel L. Jackson has been a vocal opponent of President-elect Donald Trump. Although actor avoided saying the president-elect’s name during his Dubai International Film Festival roundtable Friday and passed on the notion of playing the recently opened 18-hole Trump International Gold Course in Dubai, Jackson did address his concerns about Trump and Hollywood.
“Hopefully he won’t destroy Hollywood. Hopefully we will be able to keep working and he won’t shut Hollywood down,” said Jackson. “You know he could say, ‘Hollywood didn’t support me,’ so that’s it. Who knows what could happen.”
Trump often has taken to Twitter to air his grievances, most recently with Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of him on Saturday Night Live.
But Jackson, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award during DIFF’s opening gala, confirmed that he is staying put and continuing to fight. A Tennessee native, Jackson clarified rumors that suggested he was looking to emigrate out of the United States — that perhaps his trip to Dubai was part of a global house-hunt. "Not really. I’m not looking. Everybody thinks I am, but I’m not," he said.
In Dubai, the royal family is beloved by the locals, supplying jobs, funding retirement plans and women’s clubs, a stark contrast to Hollywood's perception of the U.S. president-elect. Jackson acknowledged his reputation as an activist — "I guess I’m known as kind of a political individual of sorts. People know who I am and where I stand” — and didn’t shy away from speaking about the American political climate.
“I think now people like me are feeling the way that all those people who hated Barack [Obama] felt for the last eight years. It’s just a flip. A lot of people voted for him. It’s not like he stole the election. More people voted for Hillary [Clinton], OK, fine. But for eight years there have been people who have hated Barack. And to the world he was a beloved kind of dude."
Jackson continued, it was like “America has got a black president, he is so cool; America is growing. Now we know America didn’t grow so much. These people were just lying in wait. So now we are on this side of ‘I can’t wait for this guy to be gone,’ but we have to wait four years. It’s just a flip. The other half of America’s personality gets what they want now. Or they think they get what they want now. We will see.”
The 67-year-old actor added, “We wish we could have somebody that is beloved.”
This year marks Jackson’s first time at the festival, which is celebrating its 13th edition.
"I’ve been trying to get here for a long time," Jackson insisted. "I’ve known about this film festival for years and I’ve been trying to get here, but I’m usually working. This time last year I was in Hawaii doing King Kong, then on my way to Australia and Vietnam. The year before that I was in London doing Kingsman, the year before that I was somewhere else, so I just haven’t logistically been able to get here ... and I’m really glad I finally have."
The actor also disclosed that he discovered something new about Paramount’s 2000 film Rules of Engagement. Directed by William Friedkin, the film follows an attorney (Tommy Lee Jones) as he defends an officer (Jackson) who is on trial for ordering his troops to fire on civilians after they invaded a U.S. embassy in a third-world country.
“People were offended by it in this specific part of the world. We never heard about [that], but the studio knew about [it] and there were some apologies issued that we didn’t know anything about,” said Jackson.
Paramount did not return immediate requests for comment.