Two weeks from The Most Important Election Of Our Lifetimes and nearly four years into the Trump Era, you could be forgiven for thinking there was enough genuine outrage in the world. Why on earth would anyone need to confect a controversy? If the current Twitter imbroglio surrounding Hollywood star Chris Pratt is anything to go by, you should think again.
It all kicked off on Saturday, when the TV writer Amy Berg floated a question into the Twittersphere. ‘One has to go,’ she wrote, accompanied by pictures of ‘the four Chrises’: Hemsworth, Pratt, Pine and Evans.
One has to go. pic.twitter.com/HUWnbQOA43
— Amy Berg (@bergopolis) October 17, 2020
An innocuous topic of debate, you might assume. You would be wrong. ‘If you don’t know the answer, I don’t know how to help you,’ wrote journalist Yashar Ali. ‘Pratt. His views are terrible and he supports anti-lgbtq activist churches. Easy,’ tweeted podcaster Kev Hamm. ‘Why is everyone so mean to Pratt??’ one Twitter user asked. ‘1) he’s a Trump supporter and 2) the church that he attends has a history of being homophobic. He said in a statement about how his church is no longer homophobic or something like that but the consensus on him never went back to being positive,’ came the response.
Chris Pratt. Sadly the Trump supporter stuff disqualifies him despite all the of delightful Andy Dwyer/Johnny Karate/Bert Macklin glory https://t.co/BCP3OcSPYq
— Tara Dublin #Biden46 (@taradublinrocks) October 19, 2020
For many readers, this may be the first time you’ve heard that Chris Pratt is a Trump supporter. There’s a good reason for that: Pratt has never declared himself one.
Don’t get Cockburn wrong: Pratt has conservative credentials. He loves rural pursuits like hunting, and, as Cockburn wrote last September, he’s ‘an evangelical Christian from the Midwest who wears ‘don’t tread on me’ t-shirts and just married into a Republican dynasty.’ But you don’t need a degree in political science to know that seeming like a Republican and being a Republican are not the same thing. What’s more, being a conservative and a Republican doesn’t necessarily overlap with being a Trump supporter. And keen students of FEC filings may notice that Pratt donated $1,000 to Obama in 2012.
Naturally no one online cares for such nuances. The pile-on intensified after several of Pratt’s Avengers co-stars participated in a fundraising Q&A with Democratic VP nominee Kamala Harris on Tuesday. Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana and Robert Downey Jr. Harris offered such pearls as ‘We all know honor and decency matters, and it matters whether you are saving the universe from Thanos or fighting for the soul of our nation.’ In a pre-recorded video, her husband Doug Emhoff said ‘A global pandemic, a climate crisis, and a president who is making it all worse. He is a villain fit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, except he tweets more, and he’s an active super-spreader.’
Can you blame Chris Pratt for wanting to opt out of such a farce, regardless of his personal politics? Apparently you can:
— Jonathan Boo-hle (@jm_boehle) October 18, 2020
Me after I’ve been saying for years that Chris Pratt is a trump supporter and anti-lgbtq+ pic.twitter.com/UVGadz7emU
— Gia | blynation™ (@Platonictrash) October 19, 2020
So regardless of anything he actually thinks or has said, Chris Pratt gets lumped in with 50 Cent as the latest multimillionaire boarding the Trump Train.
Cockburn actually respects Pratt more for not proselytizing about politics: it’s significantly more commendable than the ‘hectoring of voters within limits clearly defined by Disney’s commercial interests’ in which his co-stars have been indulging. Unfortunately for Pratt, his apolitical outlook has become the latest fad celebrity political cause which falls within those confines.
‘You all, @prattprattpratt is as solid a man there is. I know him personally, and instead of casting aspersions, look at how he lives his life. He is just not overtly political as a rule. This is a distraction. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, friends. We are so close now,’ tweeted Mark Ruffalo.
‘What a world… The “sinless” are casting stones at my brother, Chris Pratt… A real Christian who lives by principle, has never demonstrated anything but positivity and gratitude,’ wrote Robert Downey Jr.
‘No matter how hard it gets, stick your chest out, keep your head up and handle it. -Tupac You got this @prattprattpratt,’ tweeted Zoe Saldana. ‘Your family, friends, colleagues & everyone who’s ever crossed paths with you knows your heart and your worth!’
Clearly Pratt doesn’t deserve all the stick he’s getting online. In fact, it’s easy to imagine that the deluge is likelier to drive him towards voting for Trump than shame him into coming out for Biden. But the more Cockburn hears from celebrities about the whole affair, the dumber he feels. Don’t we deserve better heroes than these?