'They Make Me Vomit': 'Jaws' Star Torpedoes Hollywood's New Woke Inclusion Standards
These may have been the lines of his life.
In the decades that Hollywood veteran Richard Dreyfuss has spent making movies, he’s played characters dealing with monsters of the deep, aliens from deep space and even a budget-cutting local board of education.
But it’s the current mania in the entertainment world for woke “inclusion” that could be the biggest danger of all — and in an interview last week, Dreyfuss didn’t hold back.
In a PBS “Firing Line” interview that aired Friday, host Margaret Hoover asked Dreyfuss for his take on the new “Representation and Inclusion Standards” adopted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the Best Picture category starting next year.
The standards make a show of demanding major participation by “underrepresented groups” — women, various ethnicities (non-white, of course) and sexual subsets of humanity. They also leave plenty of wiggle room by allowing the standards to be met in off-screen — Hollywood is still in the business of making money, after all, and virtue-signaling has already proven it can bomb at the box office.
But there was no misunderstanding where Dreyfuss stood.
“They make me vomit,” he said. “No one should be telling me, as an artist, that I have to give in to the latest, most current idea of what morality is. … Are we really risking hurting people’s feelings? You can’t legislate that.
“You have to let life be life. And I’m sorry, I don’t think there’s a minority or a majority in the country that has to be catered to like that.”
And if that wasn’t dangerous enough to the new “Thought Police” running the entertainment world, Dreyfuss went even further — taking on the taboo topic of blackface and declaring he saw nothing wrong with it at all.
Acting legend Laurence Olivier, Dreyfuss said, “was the last white actor to play Othello. And he did it in 1965. And he did it in blackface.”
“And he played a black man, brilliantly.
“Am I being told I will never have a chance to play a black man? Is someone else being told that if they’re not Jewish they shouldn’t play ‘The Merchant of Venice?’ Are we crazy? Do we not know that art is art?
“This is so patronizing. It’s so thoughtless and treating people like children.”
And obviously, he had an audience. Even on the PBS Twitter account, where common sense would dictate that there are a fair number of liberal users.
Well, actually, in much of the world of what passes for entertainment today, no, “art” is not “art” anymore. It’s politics — it’s ideology — by another name, where creative impulses are suborned to the interests of the powerful. And the powerful are leftists, determined to take control over individual freedom.
The simple reality is that, yes, Dreyfuss is being told he will never play a black man — not as a black character, and certainly not in blackface.
In the same world where a man can pretend to be a woman in real life, and normal people are supposed to not only accept it but act as though they actually believe it, it is somehow unacceptable for a man to pretend to be another man with a different skin color because that is “offensive” to somebody, somewhere.
Naturally, the remarks have made Dreyfuss a target on the left. The liberal HuffPost headlined its coverage “Richard Dreyfuss Ripped Over Startlingly Bizarre Take On Blackface” — not just unorthodox, but “startlingly bizarre.”
But he had plenty of supporters, too.
I agree with him. I am getting old like Richard and am tired of this. They are ruining everything
— Anne Sabalewski (@ASabalewski) May 7, 2023
Bravo to Richard Dreyfuss, saying what everyone else in Hollywood is too afraid to say. A racial quota when casting for film or television is a distraction from the organic progression of creating the film.
— Laura (@LauraA19701) May 6, 2023
#Dreyfuss is #Awesome ! You just feel calm when you hear someone say a sane thought . Our world is getting weird.
— who,that (@JamesSutterfi14) May 7, 2023
Now, at the age of 75, Dreyfuss has been an established star (the kind with establishment liberal politics) since Gerald Ford was in the White House.
He’s starred in movie classics like “Jaws,” where his character survived what appeared to be sure death in the jaws of a great white shark, as well as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” where his character ended up leaving earth on an alien spaceship, and “Mister Holland’s Opus,” where his character ends up losing his job.
Dreyfuss isn’t likely to end up being devoured by an apex predator of the ocean, and even less likely to be headed for extraterrestrial experiences. But is he going to work again after public attacking the most sacred of sacred cows in Hollywood today?
Meryl Streep can give a standing ovation to a child rapist and blasphemously praise uber-producer Harvey Weinstein as “God” before his predilection for forcing sex on women became public but surely long after it was an open secret in Hollywood, but a star like Dreyfuss might well have crossed the line of acceptability in the work world.
His words to Hoover might have been the lines of his life, but they’re exactly what Hollywood doesn’t want to hear — no matter how much it needs to.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.