Top Hollywood Execs Give Overwhelmingly to Democrats for Midterms
Only three members of the THR 100 list donated to the GOP: 'Saturday Night Live' creator Lorne Michaels, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey and Viacom CEO Bob Bakish.
Hollywood has always been a reliable source of contributions to Democratic Party politicians and organizations, but perhaps never so more than the 2018 election cycle.
Of the more than $4 million in federal donations made by the top Hollywood executives and entertainers, 99.7 percent went to Democrats and Democratic-leaning political action committees or organizations, according to a Hollywood Reporter data review of Federal Election Commission records.
Only three members of this year's THR 100 list donated to Republicans or Republican committees: Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels donated $5,000 to moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins; WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey gave $2,000 to both Tennessee Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn and the National Republican Congressional Committee; and Viacom CEO Bob Bakish gave $1,500 to Republican Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson and $1,000 to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The biggest Hollywood donations went almost all to Democrats. The Senate Majority PAC was the primary recipient, with HBO host Bill Maher ($1 million), Netflix CEO Reed Hastings ($500,000) and Endeavor executives Ari Emanuel ($100,000) and Patrick Whitesell ($100,000) making major donations.
"Every donation we receive is critical to help us ensure victory come Election Day," said Senate Majority PAC president J.B. Poersch.
Talent agency management gave consistently and generously to Democrats. After Whitesell ($147,400 in total donations) and Emanuel ($120,400 in donations), CAA Managing Partner Bryan Lourd paced the field ($106,300 in donations), followed by ICM Partners Managing Director Chris Silbermann ($54,700) and CAA Managing Partner Kevin Huvane ($47,300).
Directors have been among Hollywood's most prolific donors, including Steve Spielberg ($549,000) and J.J. Abrams ($347,500).
Netflix executives also made their presence felt, led by chief executive Reed Hastings, who has made 14 donations totaling $546,600.
While Hollywood's donor base has gotten younger and more diverse, veteran executive Jeffrey Katzenberg more than doubled the donation total of any member of the THR 100, giving $1,116,300 so far.
Among recipients of Hollywood's largesse, embattled Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill has brought in $627,051 from entertainers.
Compared to individual executives, entertainment company political action committees generally strive for partisan balance. The 21st Century Fox PAC, for example, has given $80,500 to Democrats competing for House seats and $80,000 to Republicans competing for House seats. For Senate races, the PAC has given $66,675 to Democrats and $44,000 to Republicans.
The full executive donation list tallied by THR can be viewed below: