Veteran Hollywood actor Kurt Russell believes that celebrities shouldn’t weigh in publicly on politics, saying that actors should step away from anything that prevents audiences from seeing them as a character.
Kurt Russell made the comments in an interview with the New York Times to promote his new Netflix movie The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two, in which he reprises his role as Santa Claus alongside longtime partner Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus.
At one point in the interview, Russell was asked he still believes celebrities should steer clear of making political statements.
“Totally. I’ve always been someone who felt we are court jesters. That’s what we do,” he replied. “As far as I’m concerned, you should step away from saying anything so that you can still be seen by the audience in any character. There’s no reason entertainers can’t learn just as much as anybody else about a subject, whatever it is. But I think that what’s sad about it is that they lose their status as a court jester. And I’m a court jester. That’s what I was born to do.”
He added: “A court jester isn’t always funny. A court jester is the only one who can walk into the castle and put the king down as long as he doesn’t hit too close to home. I think that’s been a big, important part of all cultures throughout history, and I’d like to see it stay in ours.”
Russell’s comments come at a time when a growing number of left-wing Hollywood stars are seeking to become political influencers by using their social media platforms to amplify Democratic party messaging, especially against President Donald Trump and his supporters.
But there are some celebrities like Russell who believe avoiding political statements is the best policy. Other stars who have promised to steer clear of political grandstanding include Gillian Anderson, Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, and Billy Joel.
In the Times interview, Goldie Hawn said that celebrities should have the freedom to decide if they want to use their stardom as a platform. “The one thing I don’t agree with is that just because we have a platform we always have to use it. That is our choice,” she said.
Russell also discussed the movie’s invented language that Santa uses to communicate with his elves.
“I’ll never forget when I saw The Passion of the Christ and went, ‘Mel discovered something that nobody figured out for all this time we’ve been making movies,’” he said. “If you do anything that’s historical, especially the Bible, and you do it in an original language, it gives it a sense of authenticity. And when I saw that, and I read this script, I thought, elvish will give this a sense of authenticity.”