- The Washington Times - Monday, February 7, 2005

Conservatives in Hollywood, says actress-producer Cheryl Felicia Rhoads, may feel like the ugly ducklings, but they have to realize they are swans and that it is time for them to soar. “Conservatives are not just ignored in Hollywood, they are absolutely mocked,” Miss Rhoads told a recent gathering of conservative women, citing such examples as an alcoholic Republican character on Television’s “The West Wing” and a murderous military officer in the film “American Beauty.”

Miss Rhoads, known to a generation of young Americans as Mother Goose in “The Mother Goose Video Treasury,” said Hollywood is infested by liberal “gurus” who despise mainstream American values, refuse to give over their studio budgets to films from the conservative perspective, and manipulate reality.

As evidence of this bias, she pointed to such films as “The Day After Tomorrow,” which dramatized global warming; “The Motorcycle Diaries,” which offered a romantic view of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara; and the documentaries of Michael Moore, who she called “the most disingenuous of filmmakers.”

“It is because of entertainment-industry elitists like Michael Moore that … I might seek asylum from Hollywood,” she said, during the Jan. 14 Conservative Women’s Network luncheon organized by the Heritage Foundation and the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.

Pointing out that Mel Gibson had to use his own money to fund “The Passion of the Christ” and released it through two minor distributors, Miss Rhoads said the response indicates audiences might be ready for more conservative films. “Mel Gibson put up his own money for ‘The Passion,’ and the audience came,” she said. “We have an audience out there.”

“I don’t think the American public is oblivious of the liberal propaganda,” she said. “How many people say they have not been to the theater for 15 years? How many people choose to stay home?”

Recent years have seen strong box office revenue for films praised by many conservatives. The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic depiction of good versus evil, has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide; “Signs,” M. Night Shyamalan’s story of faith and meaning, grossed $228 million in the United States; and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” a celebration of traditional family life grossed $241 million. “The Incredibles,” picturing solidarity among the members of a family of superheroes, grossed $256 million.

Miss Rhoads sees other evidence of the potential audience for such projects. The reason why a game show like “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” became so successful, she said, is because the family can watch it together. Americans are “looking for something that works with their own symbols,” she said, while liberals “are trying so hard to force agenda-driven movies that don’t fit.”

However, in Hollywood “there are writers, actors and producers who are out there fighting the good fight,” said Miss Rhoads, who compared the entertainment industry to other arenas where conservatives have made gains in recent years.

“In addition to the bloggers and talk radio and Fox News, we need a place in entertainment in television and film, too. We can no longer abdicate this powerful medium to the propaganda of a radical few,” she said.

“If we have to have our own movies, and TV networks and our own awards presentations and our own culture, we are going to do it,” Miss Rhoads added.

“Conservatives in the arts are broadening the intellectual and artistic diversity in Hollywood, and it’s in the nick of time for the sake of American culture and that of the world,” she went on. “We need to continue to provide alternative entertainment that inspires the red states, as well as the blue states.”

Miss Rhoads said there is a need for alternative venues such as the Liberty Film Festival, founded by director Jazon Apuzzo and his wife, actress Govindini Murty, which took place in October last year. She called the festival “the conservative equivalent of Woodstock for actors, writers, and producers in Hollywood.”

During the festival, 18 conservative films were screened, among them “In the Face of Evil” (about President Reagan and the Cold War), “Michael Moore Hates America,” “Celsius 41.11” and “Brainwashing 101,” a documentary about the lack of intellectual diversity and the political correctness dominating American college campuses.

“We need our own Academy Awards and Golden Globes, if the others won’t make room for us,” Miss Rhoads said.

“We must be who we are and not be intimidated by the left any more,” she concluded.

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