Conservative actors, producers, directors, and screenwriters can remember a time as recent as 20 years ago, back when Hercules was running strong, when they felt safe to air their conservative views to friends in the industry. That’s no longer the case: Conservatives in the entertainment industry today say they feel shut down and shunned as political acrimony grows in an already left-leaning Hollywood. Politics seeps into TV shows and movies that push pro-LGBT narratives. It takes front stage at the Golden Globes and the Emmys, where celebrities lambasted President Trump and applauded when Hillary Clinton read an excerpt from Michael Wolff’s gossip-laced book Fire and Fury.
According to unofficial estimates, the number of conservatives working in the local entertainment industry ranges around a few thousand individuals—a mere blot out of the 180,000 entertainment-related jobs in Los Angeles. Some well-known figures in the industry such as Clint Eastwood, Gary Sinise, and Tim Allen remain outspoken about their political stances, but many others keep their red stripe secret. In Hollywood, politics can greatly affect a person’s career because people spend long hours together on sets and projects, and producers like to hire people who fit in and won’t cause conflicts.
‘Hollywood has an agenda, let’s face it. They put out so many violent movies full of sex, violence, and hate. … Why can’t we have more feel-good, good-message movies?
Kevin Sorbo said he has noticed a huge drop in calls from big studios in the last decade and said it would be “a shock” if he was ever cast in a blockbuster movie again: “I don’t get it. In the last 50, 60 years there’s been this slow brainwashing going on from the left, but now, it’s open warfare.”
Today the Sorbos still attend some movie premieres (like Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris) and book speaking engagements, and they recently made a faith-based drama film together. But the more vocal they are in their viewpoints, the more they feel removed from the Hollywood bubble, and they say they’ve never really cared for the schmooze parties with the predictable cliques.
I visited the Sorbos twice—once at their kids’ weekly homeschooling classes at a local co-op, then at their house in Westlake Village, a mountain-hugging bedroom community in Los Angeles. The Sorbos have done well in their careers: They live above a gated driveway in a multimillion-dollar, Mediterranean-style villa that includes a pool, a gym, and a state-of-the-art theater on a 1.5-acre private estate growing avocado, orange, apple, apricot, plum, and lemon trees.
On a Thursday morning, I sat in their dining room, a sun-trickled space with vintage fabric armchairs and a grand chandelier. On the wall hung a man-sized framed painting of Kevin Sorbo as Hercules, with his trademark chestnut tassels and bulging biceps. It was a nod to the old days when a show like Hercules—feel-good, lighthearted entertainment featuring an upstanding hero who naturally does what’s right—could rake in millions of views in 176 countries.
Hercules paintings aside, the Sorbos’ house was otherwise quiet and homey. Their golden mutt Hunter snored loudly underneath the dining room table. Sam wore a magenta jacket, jogging pants, and a blue cap, having just gone for a walk that morning at the nearby golf course while Kevin played his usual quick morning golf. Upstairs, their two teenage sons, Braeden and Shane, were working on Latin and math, while their 12-year-old daughter Octavia sat at the kitchen table practicing her spelling.