Hollywood's conservative underground
'Friends of Abe' group meets quietly
Amy Fagan (Contact)
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
A group of politically conservative and centrist Hollywood figures organized by actor Gary Sinise and others has been meeting quietly in restaurants and private homes, forming a loose-knit network of entertainers who share common beliefs like supporting U.S. troops and traditional American values.
Some of those involved are taking more public steps to counter the entertainment industry's tilt toward liberalism and Democratic politics, such as campaigning for Republican Sen. John McCain or crafting projects to portray America in a more positive light.
The group, whose members call themselves "Friends of Abe" after Abraham Lincoln, was organized as an underground movement because of fears that prominent industry titans with outspoken liberal views would retaliate, said participants. They often were reluctant to name members of the group in interviews for fear it would hurt their careers.
"It's a growing movement, and word is getting out that there's many of us in this business ...," said 1950s singer Pat Boone, one of the few conservatives to talk about the movement publicly. "If certain studio execs - hirers and firers - learn that this is a movement and growing, and that some of these people that they hire are of this inclination, these people could be unemployed."
Friends of Abe has functioned like a support group, organizing informal gatherings where actors, producers, screenwriters, key grips and other industry types can share common values or discuss concerns like anti-Americanism in Hollywood movies or the perception of industry bias against conservatives and Republicans.
The movement has grown over the past few years from gatherings of a few dozen to one last month that drew more than 600 to a billionaire's California estate, Mr. Boone said.