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Should Celebrities Talk Politics?

Updated on April 16, 2014

Have Your Say on Celebrity Politics!

Do celebrities and politics mix? Should famous people actively voice their political opinions, or keep them to themselves? Have your say with this interactive page asking should celebrities talk politics?

With more and more global issues coming to our attention, and the explosion of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, politics is something that is inevitably being discussed more by actors, musicians, writers and other famous faces. Many are now referred to as "celebrity activists" as they become involved in political debate, humanitarian work and issues such as climate change.

Is this a good thing, with the potential to ignite more interest in politics from the general public, or is it best left to the politicians themselves? Read on to have your say and find out more.

Photo Credit: George Bush shakes hands with Bono in 2006, calling him a "good citizen of the world".

Image in the public domain

Celebrities say the darnedest things.

— Bridgette Wilson

President Barack Obama meets with Paul David "Bono" Hewson, lead singer of U2 and anti-poverty activist, to discuss development policy in the Oval Office, April 30, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

Image in the public domain

A while ago I posted a film link on Facebook, commenting that I was excited about seeing a particular actor in a particular role. A friend commented that she had long been a fan of the actor in question since she was a teenager, but "since he became 1000000% political in everything he talks about, I've lost interest..."

This was fascinating to me, because, on the contrary, I was enjoying reading his political views on Twitter at the time, and to me it made him even more of an interesting person to follow, not just on Twitter, but in general. And this is coming from someone who, until recently, struggled to stay interested in my own country's politics, let alone that of another!

Because, regardless of what I may or may not think of this actor's viewpoint (I happen to agree with him, but that's beside the point), the positive thing is that it got me interested in finding out more. I knew next to nothing about American politics, being from England myself, but having read some of the articles he posted on Twitter, I started learning more, and actually became extremely interested in the subject. Which is a good thing, right? We should be taking an active interest in the people and governments who run not just our own country, but all the others, too.

Sean Penn amongst the crowd at the United for Peace March, January 27, 2007.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

So, I did a little research online, and found plenty of people who felt that celebrities really ought to "shut up" when it comes to sharing their political views. I guess it probably depends on what their political viewpoint is... if you agree, then you'd be quite happy to let them spread the word, but if not...

However, people have the right to voice their opinion, be they celebrity or everyday person. Unless they are spewing hateful comments, deliberately manipulating the public or inciting the likes of violence, then surely famous people are entitled to their opinion and their passion as much as you or I?

So what do you think? Do celebrity politics have the potential to inspire others into taking an active interest in the world? Or do you see that as a bad thing, where celebrities can influence unsure voters into supporting a party they might not otherwise have chosen? Or, is it simply a case of making the celebrity in question, well, just a little bit boring?

Let battle commence! Have your say below, watch celebs talking politics, find out more info, and decide which celebrities talk the best politics!

HERE'S WHAT I THINK

I think, overall, that it is a good thing that celebrities talk politics, if only to inspire an interest in the people who are interested in them. Right now, western politics is decided as much by voter apathy as it is voter power, because so many people are either disillusioned or simply not interested.

I agree with Matt Damon's statement that most people are set in their ways with politics, so having an opinion does not necessarily herald change, but providing the celebrity is speaking out in the spirit of change, rather than for their own ego, that is a good thing.

I think getting people thinking and talking about political issues is important. Any celebrities who are willing to speak out about humanitarian causes, environmental issues or other significant topics are bringing these key issues to a wider audience.

Of course, you will always get celebrities spouting rubbish about things they know nothing about. That is no different from the general public. And just because they are famous, it doesn't mean they know any better than we do. But many can press for significant changes - for example, would the Gurkhas in the UK have got the justice they deserved, had the much-loved and respected actress Joanna Lumley not spoken out and supported them so passionately?

YOUR TURN!

Should Celebrities Talk Politics?

Yes, they are entitled to their opinion

Yes, they are entitled to their opinion

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    • DeboraR 4 years ago

      They're entitled to voice their opinions just like non-celebrities. It's when the average citizen bases their opinions solely on that of a celebrity that's just stupid, in my opinion. I also believe their money speaks for them most of the time when it comes to politics. I think the younger people are more inclined to listen to celebrities when it comes to politics. Personally, I never listen to them because I don't value their opinions on such matters as politics.

    • MarcusMcKean 4 years ago

      Frist it is their right.

      Freddom speech, need I say more?

      Second, it is their responsibility.

      Everyone with a voice regarding the state of our union must speak up. People have fought and died so each and everyone of else could voice their opinion both in public and at the voter's booth. Considering the strength in their voice celebrities should carry more of the responsibility of standing up and fighting for what they believe in, not less. That is what makes this country great. We need to encourage conversation not suppress it.

    • amandascloset0 5 years ago

      Yes celebrities are intitled to their own opinion. However, for the sake of their career's its usually best if they keep their mouths shut. Unless, they are so politically driven that the politics is more important that the career. For example, I love Matt Damon the actor, but Matt Damon the politician to me sounds much a toilet flushing. In addition to that they do not live by the same set of rules as the rest of the once free world so their stand on common issues isn't as significant to them as it is to us. For example the coal mining industry. Hollywood and big "O" want it gone. But the common man who has dedicated his life to the career does not. If affects real people like us when it does not affect celebrities.

    • AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      Absolutely. They are entitled to an opinion just as anyone else. Their celebrity can bring a ton of awareness to important topics, and that is a good thing whether you agree with them or not.

    • goldenrulecomics 5 years ago

      Sure they can talk. It doesn't mean we have to listen.

    • Bernie 6 years ago from Corbin, KY

      yes, but only if their celerbrity statis isn't known

    • DuaneJ 6 years ago

      Indeed, yes, given their reach and influence, they serve as powerful agents of change...

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      with respect for each other.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      This is the beauty of freedom of speech, people are entitled to express themselves accordingly. Some people would argue that celebrities have enough influence. Whilst this is in fact true, they are still citizens and are entitled to their political views. It does not mean that we have to follow who they support or what they believe. That is entirely up to the individual!

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I believe everyone has a right to their opinion and if they want to talk about it, let them.

    • Deb Kingsbury 6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I believe anyone and everyone is entitled to an opinion and has the right to publicly state that opinion. Freedom of speech and all that. But I do admit that I get a little turned off when a celebrity goes on and on about politics, whether I agree with them or not. At least, when it's on TV, I can change the channel. When it's at a live show, though (a concert), and they go on and on, that irks me more, because I don't pay to hear their politics, whatever they are. I pay to hear music and be entertained. Still, they have the right and are entitled to that opinion.

    • Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      I wouldn't want someone to limit my freedom of speech just because of who I am or what I choose to do for a living. Many celebrities have had a powerful and positive impact on critical issues.

    • Guided Abundance 6 years ago from Mobile, AL

      Sure why not, I don't think they are hurting anything especially those activist who mean well.

    • Melody Lassalle 6 years ago from California

      Yes, they should get involved in politics if it interests them. Their celebrity can help shine a spotlight on issues and causes. If by getting involved politics they encourage one more person to get involved, even if it's to oppose what they support, then it's done something positive. I do not think we should give their opinion more credence because they are a celebrity, but they have the right to make the case just like everyone else.

    • LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      They are people like anyone else, and have a right to express themselves. Like any other public person they should think of HOW they say things.

    • Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But just because they are celebrities doesn't mean we need to agree with them.

    • GiftsBonanza 6 years ago

      If it is highlighting social issues and ways of tackling the issues then yes... if it is to tell us who they are voting for, I really couldn't care less

    • Julia M S Pearce 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      If by being involved they are bring attention to a certain situation that need to be addressed they can get the people thinking who otherwise wouldn't.

    • Joan4 6 years ago

      I tend to think that anything that creates more conversation is a good thing. so yes, it's a good thing when celebrities talk politics.

    • Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Why not, everybody else does

    • sheilamarie78 6 years ago

      Well, I think that any person has not only the right but the duty to care what goes on in the world. If we were to say celebrities should keep quiet, then who should speak up -- just the professional politicians? Don't they sway public opinion as well?

      Oh, I forgot -- the entertainment industry is supposed to distract everyone and keep them from thinking at all!

      Now I'm being sarcastic. Art has always addressed politics in one way or another. If they don't speak about politics directly, then they are speaking through the art they produce.

    • miaponzo 6 years ago

      I think everyone has the right to an opinion so... they can talk if they want, but people shouldn't take them THAT seriously....I mean, just because they are famous, doesn't mean they know more, are more powerful, or have better opinions than you or me!

    • hlkljgk 6 years ago from Western Mass

      if multi-national corporations can now offer unlimited funds to campaigns, including advertising, i think celebrities can speak their mind...

    • CHalloran LM 6 years ago

      Everyone should talk politics, including celebrities. If they have concerns about the way things are going in their countries and around the world, they have all the freedom to express it just like a regular citizen. They vote, they pay their taxes, so why should they be quiet?

    No way, Monkeybrain, they should keep their opinions to themselves!

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      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Celebrates need to remember that about half of their fans are Republicans. There are several that have offended me during this race and I won't watch them anymore. People! Think about who put you where you are!

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        I don't think celebrities should publicly share their opinions regarding politics. The topic is as sensitive as religion. There are certain celebs whom I will never watch again because of statements they made regarding their political views. All they did was make me dislike them, not the political party to which they honor.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        First I should say that I am an independent. I agree with, and disagree with things in both parties. My loyalty lies with the Country I love, period. But I have to say that I'm frustrated with this topic, because it is celebrities not just sharing their political opinion with friends and neighbors but with their fans. Many of which idolize them, and they know it. It makes the message not about the problems at all but about the celebrity and the candidate they support. As much as I like Obama... I can't stand how he seems to be all about the celebrity. I've never seen anything like it. THEY ARE ENTERTAINERS PEOPLE!!!

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        NO! celebrities don't live in the real world!!! they don't know what its like to live in this world with out all their money!!

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        I think that if celebrities are going to talk politics, they should weigh their words wisely before spewing them, since they have a much greater responsibility as they are looked up to by many simple minded folks. I think that when Jennifer Anniston called George Bush a f...in idiot--she should have been cutoff from all future political input. In a time of war, she not only insulted our "commander in chief", she also was showing her lack of sensitivity and respect by dishonoring him in a time of war when many families & devoted followers had dedicated their lives to following up on his orders and commands. She should be verbally spanked for her immature and inconsiderate lip service. It really showed her arrogance

        and disdain toward the many soldiers following and respecting his command!

      • jolou 6 years ago

        I guess I lean towards no, but then I'm a conservative, and most celebrities are liberal. So I guess I feel this way, since I disagree many times with their opinions.

      • Lemming13 6 years ago

        I am all in favour of all people taking an intelligent interest in politics and current affairs, but celebrities have too much influence, and far too many of them have very little brain - Charlie Sheen, for example, and Paris Hilton. Their views should be expressed at the ballot box privately. And all political campaigns should be limited to a set amount of money, and every single penny should be accounted for in origin and spending. Secret cabals have run things for too long.

      • 'Vikk Simmons 6 years ago from Houston

        They can have their opinions but I don't like to hear them. I'd rather they used their status for good works. I find it can be very distracting when I know too much about celebs. Clearly I'm not a huge celeb follower. :)

      Celebrities Who Talk Politics

      Matt Damon on Politics

      "I'm not an activist per se, but I have strong feelings about things. People can jump on celebrities for being ill-informed or naive, but I've got a right to say what I believe."

      - Ed Harris

      John Cusack on Politics

      John Cusack for President on CafePress

      John Cusack for President on CafePress
      John Cusack for President on CafePress

      Sean Penn on Politics

      "I have always hated celebrities lecturing people on politics. So forgive me. But I am passionate about this country. I am equally passionate about the potential of the people who live here."

      - Simon Cowell

      Bono on Politics

      Angelina Jolie on Politics

      George Clooney on Politics

      More Politicial Celebrities

      Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and George Clooney show their appreciation for U.S. troops during a tour of Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Image in the public domain

      Of course, the ultimate examples of celebrities getting involved in politics are those who actually went into politics - such as actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan, and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who became Governor of California in 2003. But there are plenty of other celebs having their say and getting involved too:

      Brad Pitt *** Tim Robbins *** Robert Redford *** Bob Geldof *** Don Cheadle *** Michael J Fox *** Willie Nelson *** Barbra Streisand *** Joanna Lumley *** Michael Moore *** Oprah Winfrey *** Tom Cruise *** Rosie O'Donnell ***

      Rob Reiner *** Susan Sarandon *** Alec Bladwin *** Stephen Baldwin ***

      Jane Fonda *** Martin Sheen

      PAST POLITICAL CELEBRITIES

      Elizabeth Taylor *** Audrey Hepburn *** Orson Welles *** Charlton Heston *** Paul Newman *** Frank Sinatra *** John Wayne *** Warren Beatty ***

      Harry Belafonte

      CELEBRITIES PASSIONATE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE & THE ENVIRONMENT

      Leonardo DiCaprio *** Ian Somerhalder

      CELEBRITIES WHO HAVE GIVEN SUPPORT TO POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS

      Stephen Fry *** John Cleese *** Honor Blackman *** David Tennant *** The Spice Girls *** Sean Connery *** Daniel Radcliffe *** Michael Caine ***

      Brian Eno

      Say What?

      "I think celebrities have an obligation to the public to not just sing or act."

      - Clay Aiken

      "I think that celebrities should never underestimate their power. I mean just to draw attention, because then people get involved on a personal level."

      - Debbie Gibson

      The Best and Worst of Celebrity Politics

      Paul McCartney receiving the Gershwin Award from Barack Obama. Image in the public domain

      Been inspired by the words of a certain celebrity? Incensed by the ramblings of another? Post your best and worst political celebs here - feel free to post on both sides!

      Who do you love and who can't you stand when it comes to political talk?

      The celebrities talking sense about politics are:

      The celebrities talking sense about politics are:

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        • Melody Lassalle 6 years ago from California

          Bob Geldof and Midge Ure come to mind. People were indifferent to the problems facing African nations. Their efforts through Live Aid made us all aware of the famine in Ethiopia and got the news media to focus on it.

        • Shayleah 6 years ago

          John Cusack has some witty and inisightful criticisms of the US government that I feel are bang on.

        The celebrities talking nonsense about politics are:

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          • Joan4 6 years ago

            I don't like to hear anybody talk who thinks they know all the answers. The issues are so complicated now.

          • miaponzo 6 years ago

            I don't listen to either celebrities OR politicians.. so...

          • 'Vikk Simmons 6 years ago from Houston

            I find too much weight is given to their opinions so I pretty much find it all nonsense. :)

          Political Current Events

          "All of us, whether or not we're celebrities, every one ought to spend part of their life making someone else's life better."

          - Jerry Springer

          Celebrities and Politics - HOT OR NOT?

          Angelina Jolie at a news conference with U.S. Senators. Image in the public domain

          Did you change your mind about celebrities and politics? Do you think they can inspire interest in the subject, or only cause more grief? Your final conclusions, please!

          Celebrities and politics...

          See results

          I hope this page was suitably thought-provoking and inspired some good-spirited debate! Please leave your comments on this page or the topic in general here.

          Should Celebrities Talk Politics? Share your Thoughts! - Please Leave your Comments and Feedback Here

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              anonymous 4 years ago

              Should celebrities talk politics? Hey! Everybody talks politics. You should ride a public bus or subway train and listen to some of the heated discussions. Too bad those folks don't have celebrity status. Sometimes they be making serious sense about extremely complicated issues. They deserve a soap box!

            • DeboraR profile image

              DeboraR 4 years ago

              Very interesting lens on a debatable topic.

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              Ronald Tucker 4 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

              I have witness the impact that celebrities can have on social and political discourse since Marlon Brandon stance for the rights of Native Americans through Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolie's humanitarian work and the work of George Clooney's work in Darfur.

              Muhammad Ali is one of most famous celebrity to have "Stood up for Something" !...if a person want stand for something, he will fall for anything'

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              AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

              Excellent topic for a lens. Blessed!

            • goldenrulecomics profile image

              goldenrulecomics 5 years ago

              very interesting topic, with lots of things to think about. Nice job!

            • DuaneJ profile image

              DuaneJ 6 years ago

              You did an excellent job on this lens! Good going...

            • LikinTrikin LM profile image

              LikinTrikin LM 6 years ago

              Congrat's to you on the Purple Star....very well deserved. We know the feeling, also recently received one..our 1st :)

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              anonymous 6 years ago

              Congratulations on your Purple Star, very well deserved !

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              Krafick 6 years ago

              Well-deserved Purple Star. Congratulations.

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              Deb Kingsbury 6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

              Very good topic! Congrats on the Purple Star for stirring up some good debate.

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              Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

              Congrats on your new Purple Star! A very interesting topic that inspires healthy debate. Well done.

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              Guided Abundance 6 years ago from Mobile, AL

              Lots of content to mull over here. Great lens and congrats on your purple star!

            • simplyoasis profile image

              simplyoasis 6 years ago

              Everyone deserves the right to voice there opinion. If not for some celebrity voices really pushing buttons many criminal injustices would not have been brought to the view of the public.

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              Melody Lassalle 6 years ago from California

              This was an interesting debate. I think a case could be made for both sides of the issues. I think celebrities can help us become aware of issues, but it is up to us to do research and to come to our own conclusion. Forming an opinion on something just because a celebrity brought it up isn't a good thing. We have to take the next step and educate ourselves on issues before drawing conclusions.

            • SandyMertens profile image

              Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

              Great debate!

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              GiftsBonanza 6 years ago

              Really interesting debate... and food for thought

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              Joan4 6 years ago

              Yes a great debate! I prefer to do my own research rather than listen to anybody. But political debate is a good thing for all of us.

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              Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

              Very good debate

            • sheilamarie78 profile image

              sheilamarie78 6 years ago

              I don't listen any more to a celebrity on political issues than I do anyone else, actually. But I think it's silly to insist anyone make believe they have no opinion when they do. The McCarthy era in the US shows the damage that can be done when people are silenced for having opinions.

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              miaponzo 6 years ago

              Great debate! Thanks! Very thought provoking... I've never thought about this before!

            • Vikk Simmons profile image

              'Vikk Simmons 6 years ago from Houston

              Don't care if they have opinions but I find they don't handle the responsibility very well and their comments receive way too much weight. Would be happy if I never heard them again. It's all distracting and makes it hard to watch them when I get to know them too much. Breaks that illusion.

            • hlkljgk profile image

              hlkljgk 6 years ago from Western Mass

              any american if free to speak their mind. at least celebrities do it openly, unlike behind-the-scenes lobbyists and corporations.