It’s been less than two weeks since The Rock endorsed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the US election. It was his first-ever political endorsement (which is funny, considering his name is constantly tossed about for a future presidential run) and the first video he posted has, as of today, 7.8 million views and 117k comments.
If you spend any time on Instagram, you know the comments are a hot mess. Not because there’s so much “debate me bro” energy (there is) but because Instagram has a major problem with bots. It’s very obvious when it’s not a real account commenting (the emojis are a dead giveaway) and it turns messy real quick. Besides that, there are real accounts and it’s a snapshot of people who argue like their Dear Leader – lots of threats (unfollow! You just lost a fan!) to name calling to false accusations (I can assure you, no one paid The Rock for his endorsement) to ‘stay out of politics’ (guarantee people wouldn’t say that if he was supporting their ticket). So basically, it’s politics as usual and nothing that The Rock’s team didn’t expect. You know when you get into the conversation all of this is going to happen.
Part of the reason celebs give for staying out of it (like we saw in the Taylor Swift documentary) is fear; The Chicks (then the Dixie Chicks) were a cautionary tale for women in country music. And then there’s the argument that you will lose half your fanbase. But when was the last time that happened to a modern movie star? I’m not talking about Jane Fonda, who absolutely suffered for her anti-Vietnam War stance, but I mean a person actively working on tentpole films today.
Chris Pratt is universally regarded as the Worst Chris not because he’s (maybe?) conservative but because he’s “neutral,” a position that doesn’t exist anymore. Even though he’s not as loved as Pine or Evans or Hemsworth, he doesn’t struggle to promote a movie – it’s not like talk shows are turning Chris Pratt away. He might be the butt of jokes on Twitter, but that hasn’t hurt his franchises (Jurassic Park, Avengers, Lego movies). People pick Chris Pine on the bingo card but they aren’t boycotting Chris Pratt because they don’t like his politics (or lack thereof).
Which brings me back to The Rock and his new milestone: 200 million followers. As he points out, he is the most followed man in America. This is tangible proof that in the most contentious election in US history, the “you just lost a fan” fans are not going anywhere. No one is giving up Fast & Furious for Apprentice reruns.