Is the A-list Woke Dam Finally Breaking?

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You can count the openly conservative Hollywood stars on two hands.

Voight. Allen. Grammer. Baio. Searcy. Davi. Cain. Swanson. Woods. Sabato Jr.

Steven Spielberg doesn’t belong on that list.

The Oscar winner behind “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Jaws” and “Munich” is a rock-ribbed progressive who routinely forks over cash to elect Democrats. Yet Spielberg crossed ideological lines recently to speak out against the woke mind virus. And he isn’t the only Hollywood liberal to do so.

Tom Hanks, who narrated President Joe Biden’s video commemorating his first year in the White House, similarly shills for progressive causes. He’s not as aggressively liberal as, say, Stephen Colbert or Mark Ruffalo.

Still, Hanks’ political leanings are no secret, yet he recently followed Spielberg’s lead on a hot-button, free speech issue.

Why do their political beliefs matter on the subject? 

Free speech and anti-woke sentiments are almost exclusively a right-leaning proposition in 2023. Hollywood, for the most part, has either stayed silent about attacks on speech, cheered them on (in the case of platforms canceling Donald Trump) or otherwise paid homage to the woke revolution.

Disagree? Rewatch any of the past half-dozen Oscars ceremony if you’re doubtful. Or check out the virtue signaling jamboree from most stars’ social media pages.

Yet Spielberg blasted the sensitivity readers who are censoring classic tomes to make them less triggering for modern readers. He even criticized his previous decision to re-edit his 1982 classic film “E.T.” to swap up some FBI agents’ guns for walkie-talkies to make them less threatening on screen.

That, the directorial legend said, was a mistake. Art reflects the era in which it is created, and he disturbed that reality by tweaking his classic film.

Now, Hanks is singing from a similar hymnal.

The two-time Oscar winner is now a novelist. His book “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece” is loosely based on his decades as a movie star. And, apparently, he isn’t comfortable knowing his book “Masterpiece” may be tweaked after he’s shuffled off this mortal coil.

That’s what’s happened to books by Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie, and Hanks is not a fan of the practice.

“I’m of the opinion that we’re all grown-ups here. Let’s have faith in our own sensibilities as opposed to having somebody decide what we may or may not be offended by … Let me decide what I am offended by and what I’m not offended by. I would be against reading any book from any era that says ‘abridged due to modern sensitivities.'”

Tom Hanks

Simple. Direct. Unwavering.

It’s exactly what we haven’t heard from Hollywood heavyweights for the past five or so years.

They’ve stayed quiet as blackface-themed TV episodes got memory holed, classic films got slapped with “warning labels” and careers faced extinction for saying the wrong thing.

Yes, some Hollywood types have shared similar woke objections in recent years, like Bill Maher, Rob Schneider and Russell Brand.

With all due respect to their collective careers, Spielberg and Hanks are different. They sit atop the rarefied A-list, the place where Hollywood’s biggest stars roam. The fact that they’ve brought the subject up and slammed woke overreach without hesitation matters.

It also may give cover to other Hollywood dwellers who can now speak more freely on the subject.

Like Richard Dreyfuss.

The “Jaws” star recently blasted the Oscars’ diversity rules dictating what movies can, and can’t be eligible for Best Picture consideration. Filmmakers will have to check select boxes on diversity, Identity Politics and under-represented groups for the chance at the golden statuette.

How does Dreyfuss feel about the new rules going into effect next year?

“They make me vomit.”

Written by Christian Toto

Christian Toto is an award-winning film critic, journalist and founder of, the Right Take on Entertainment. He’s the author of “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul” and a lifelong Yankees fan. Toto lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, two sons and too many chickens.

Follow Christian on Twitter at

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