The 70th annual Emmy Awards set a new all-time ratings low, as some in attendance took the opportunity to make political statements in support of the national anthem protests and against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The Wrap reported the Emmys broadcast on NBC saw a 10 percent viewership drop from last year, garnering just a 7.4 household rating. In other words, 7.4 percent of the television sets in use tuned into the awards program.
Daily Beast senior reporter Kevin Fallon called the Emmys “the worst award show in years.”
The producers can at least take some solace in the fact that the audience decline was not as steep as the Oscars and the Grammys, which dropped 16 and 20 percent respectively.
“Blackish” star Jenifer Lewis took the opportunity on the red carpet to show her support for Nike and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests.
“I am wearing Nike to applaud them for supporting Colin Kaepernick and his protest against racial injustice and police brutality,” Lewis told Variety.
She recounted her decision to wear Nike-branded clothing had come to her a few days ago while relaxing at the pool. She wondered, “‘What can I do? What can I do that’s meaningful? I’ll wear Nike. I’ll wear Nike to say thank you. Thank you for leading the resistance!’ We need more corporate America to stand up also.”
"I am wearing Nike to applaud them for supporting Colin Kaepernick and his protest against racial injustice and police brutality."
Jennifer Lewis pic.twitter.com/IV3503EUZ4
— The Black Detour (@theblackdetour) September 18, 2018
Nike kicked off a multi-million dollar ad campaign earlier this month featuring the controversial Kaepernick with the tagline, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
“Glow” director Jesse Peretz’s wife, Sarah Sophie Flicker appeared on the carpet with “Stop Kavanaugh” written on her arm along with the phone number to the Senate switchboard.
— Cynthia Littleton (@Variety_Cynthia) September 17, 2018
“Additionally, Time’s Up, the most prominent organization in support of the #MeToo movement, provided pins saying ‘I Believe Christine Blasey Ford’ and ‘I Still Believe Anita Hill’ to attendees,” Variety reported. “Hill was in a similar position to Ford in 1991, when she testified that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her.”
— TIME'S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) September 17, 2018
“Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany wore a Planned Parenthood pin on her dress, telling USA Today, “I’ve always stood by Planned Parenthood. I support a woman’s right to choose and autonomy over their bodies. I feel that’s threatened.”
Asked if she meant by Kavanaugh’s appointment, she replied yes, adding, “That someone would try to take away (rights) from us is horrifying.”
— Carly Mallenbaum (@ThatGirlCarly) September 17, 2018
The Emmys program itself was not as politicized as other recent awards shows.
Rachel Brosnahan, who won an Emmy for Amazon’s comedy series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” urged the audience during her acceptance speech to vote.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 18, 2018
Brosnahan said one of the things she likes most about her role is, “It’s about a woman finding her voice anew. It’s something that’s happening all over the country right now.”
“One of the most important ways we can find and use our voices is to vote,” the actress said, drawing strong applause from the audience.
The program overall was panned by critics, but several said one of the highlights of the evening was acting legend Betty White receiving special recognition for her lifetime as a performer.
The 96-year-old received a standing ovation as she walked on the stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“Somebody said something the other day about first lady of television, and I took it as a big compliment,” she joked. “And then I heard her talking to her daughter a little later, and she said, ‘first lady, she’s that old. She was the first one way back.'”
“It’s incredible that I’m still in this business, and that you are still putting up with me,” White said. “All I can say is it’s such a blessed business to be in and how lucky can I be and how much I say thank you to each and every one of you.”
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