Democrat says entertainers should receive government benefits in stimulus package
Anti-Trump Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is calling on Congress to give taxpayer-funded benefits to Hollywood celebrities as part of the government’s coronavirus stimulus package.
Rep. Schiff argues that Americans are “in debt” to entertainers for their support amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to industry trade website Deadline on Thursday, Schiff insisted that celebrities and entertainment industry workers must be included in any congressional coronavirus relief bill.
The former Democratic impeachment “manager” says the country is now “even more in debt” to Hollywood because many people are at home watching television.
The California Democrat outlined his case in an op-ed published by Variety.
Schiff, whose district includes Hollywood and other parts of the greater Los Angeles area, said the freelance and contract-work nature of the business made many in the industry unable to claim unemployment compensation and other benefits.
Much of the country’s economy has been stalled as governments order or strongly advise workers to stay home to curb the spread of the deadly Chinese virus that causes COVID-19.
Hollywood has not been immune to the trend, according to The Pluralist.
Earlier this month, ticket sales in North America hit the lowest levels in over two decades, generating roughly $55.3 million between Friday and Sunday.
“And while that might bring to mind highly-paid movie stars, the reality is that the vast majority in the industry are working class, and they’re in jobs that make them ineligible for some traditional benefits,” he wrote.
“In California, New York, Georgia, and other entertainment hot zones, freelance and contract workers are dealing with productions that are postponed, slowed or canceled altogether. This is an industry in crisis.”
Additionally, Schiff wrote a letter, signed by 36 other Democrats, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a fellow Democrat from San Francisco, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield, California, insisting entertainment workers be included in any new stimulus package.
He told Deadline the nation was indebted to entertainment industry workers.
“And in some ways, we should be even more in debt because so many are finding solace and entertainment in watching their creative work product from home right now,” he said.
Schiff’s demand came three days before Democrats blocked a stimulus bill in the Senate on Sunday, that sought to provide much-needed relief for the economy and American families amid the coronavirus crisis.
The $1.8 trillion stimulus bill is Congress’ third effort to blunt the economic toll of a disease that has killed at least hundreds of people in the United States and infected more than tens of thousands more.
The pandemic has led to state governors to order nearly a third of the nation’s population to stay at home.
Schiff’s plea followed a celebrity sing-a-long effort, in which various noted entertainers joined together to produce a “We Are the World”-like video, singing John Lennon’s globalist anthem, “Imagine.”
Actress Gal Gadot, the Israeli star of “Wonder Woman,” put together the video project and posted it to Instagram on Wednesday night, saying, “We are all in this together, we will get through this together.”
“Let’s imagine together,” she added.
“Sing with us All love to you, from me and my dear friends.”
Among those who contributed performances were Will Ferrell, Natalie Portman, Jimmy Fallon, Zoe Kravitz, Amy Adams, Mark Ruffalo, James Marsden, Sarah Silverman, and Maya Rudolph.
Meanwhile, many celebrities have been using the crisis to demand that President Donald Trump is removed from office.