Steven Spielberg

© Image Copyright : Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Author of Photo: Not stated

Overview

  • Top Hollywood producer and director
  • Raised millions of dollars for Democrat candidates
  • Presented with the Human Rights Campaign’s “National Equality Award” for his support of “hate crimes” legislation
  • Traveled to Cuba and declared that “I feel so much at home here.” and described his time with Castro as “the eight most important hours of my life.”

Background

Steven Spielberg was born to Orthodox Jewish parents in Cincinnati, Ohio on December 18, 1946. In 1965 he enrolled at California State College (now California State University) to pursue a degree in film studies, but dropped out as a sophomore in 1968 to begin directing films professionally. Spielberg returned to Cal State to complete his formal education many years later, officially earning a BA degree in 2002. By then, he was well established as one of the film industry’s most influential directors and producers. For details about Spielberg’s career and the movies he has created, click here.

In 1994 Spielberg teamed up with fellow Hollywood moguls David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg to create the movie studio Dreamworks SKG. That same year, Spielberg used a portion of the profits he had earned from the blockbuster film Schindler’s List to establish the Righteous Persons Foundation (RPF), a funder of numerous left-wing groups and causes.

Supporter of Democrats

Spielberg and his wife, actress Kate Capshaw, have donated generously to many Democrat political figures. In the 1990s they developed a personal friendship with Bill Clinton, during whose presidency the couple contributed more than $400,000 to the Democratic National Committee. As of November 2015, Spielberg over the years, had given more than $468,000 to support Mr. Clinton’s political endeavors, plus an additional $1.03 million to support Hillary Clinton, and at least another $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.

From January 2005 through June 2019, Spielberg donated approximately $5.9 million to Democrats. Then, from December 2019 to February 2020, they gave an additional $3.5 million+ to Democrats. Among the recipients of Spielberg’s money have been such notables as Tammy Baldwin, Joe BidenCory BookerBarbara BoxerSherrod BrownBill ClintonHillary Clinton, Michael Dukakis, Richard DurbinJohn EdwardsRahm EmanuelDiane FeinsteinKirsten GillibrandAl GoreTom HarkinTed Kennedy, Robert Kerrey, Tom Lantos, Frank Lautenberg, Patrick Leahy, Carl Levin, Ed Markey, Claire McCaskill, Walter Mondale, Gavin Newsom, Barack ObamaNancy PelosiHarry ReidBill RichardsonCharles Schumer, Mark Udall, and Elizabeth Warren. Spielberg also has made large donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee Services Corporation, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, HillPAC, the Progressive Politics Network, and Voters for Choice/Friends of Family Planning.

Recipient of Human Rights Campaign Award

In 2000, Spielberg was presented with the Human Rights Campaign‘s “National Equality Award” for his decision to resign from the Boy Scouts of America’s advisory board because of that organization’s policies barring homosexuals from leadership positions and membership.

Spielberg’s Deep Admiration for Fidel Castro & Communist Cuba

In November 2002, Spielberg went to Cuba to attend a festival celebrating his body of work in the film industry. A strong opponent of the U.S. trade embargo against that country, Spielberg urged the George W. Bush Administration to “wipe the slate clean” and told a crowd of cheering onlookers: “I feel so much at home here. I hope to come back many times in the future.” Also during his stay in Cuba, Spielberg spent eight hours with dictator Fidel Castro, conversing amicably about environmental issues, politics, history, and the embargo. Afterward, the filmmaker described his time with Castro as “the eight most important hours of my life.”

Supporter of John Kerry

In August 2004, Spielberg produced a promotional video montage for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, consisting of 1970s film footage from Kerry’s military tour-of-duty in Vietnam. According to a campaign source, Spielberg also advised Kerry on how he could enhance his public image. In addition to encouraging the candidate to smile more and to tone down his “academic” speaking style, Spielberg sent Kerry a number of John Wayne movies and urged him to emulate the actor’s use of strategic pauses to give his words greater emphasis.

Supporter of Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama (2008)

In February 2008, Spielberg collaborated with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen to organize an exclusive Beverly Hills fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, an event that reportedly netted $1 million. Nevertheless, in June 2008 Spielberg officially endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton as his first choice for president, “convinced” that she was “the most qualified candidate to lead us from her first day in the White House.”

Advocate of Gay Marriage

Also in 2008, Spielberg donated $100,000 to a campaign to defeat Proposition 8), a California ballot initiative that sought to ban gay marriage in that state. “Such discrimination has no place in California’s constitution, or any other,” said Spielberg. (Emphasis in original)

Supporting Barack Obama & Smearing Mitt Romney (2012)

During the 2012 presidential campaign season, Spielberg advised the Obama re-election team on how to effectively use advertising messages to smear Republican challenger Mitt Romney as a heartless multi-millionaire who was indifferent to the troubles of ordinary folks. For example, commercials backed by Spielberg’s creative advice deceptively depicted Romney’s investment firm, Bain Capital, as an evil entity whose refusal to provide health insurance coverage for one particular woman had resulted in her dying from cancer.

Accusing the Republican Party of Racism

Upon the release of Lincoln, Spielberg’s 2012 movie based on the Civil War-era presidency of its title character, the director suggested that during the century-and-a-half since Lincoln’s presidency, Republicans had regressed dramatically in terms of their attitudes regarding race and social justice. “The parties traded political places over the last 150 years,” said Spielberg. “That in itself is a great story, how the Republican Party went from a progressive party in 1865, and how the Democrats were represented in the picture, to the way it’s just the opposite today.”

Invited to the White House by President Obama

In November 2012, President Obama hosted Spielberg and actor Daniel Day-Lewis at the White House for a private screening of Lincoln. According to an August 2015 New York Times report: “Mr. Spielberg held the president spellbound … when he spoke about the use of technology to tell stories. Mr. Obama has continued those conversations, most recently with Mr. Spielberg and the studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg over dinner at a Beverly Hills hotel in California in June…. [Obama’s] advisers said Mr. Spielberg was focused on helping to develop a ‘narrative’ for Mr. Obama in the years after he leaves office.”

Presenting Obama with “Ambassador for Humanity” Award

On May 7, 2014, Spielberg presented President Obama with the “Ambassador for Humanity” award of the USC Shoah Foundation, which Spielberg had established twenty years earlier to conduct and archive audio-visual interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides. When giving the award, Spielberg praised Obama’s 2012 creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board in 2012.

Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama

In November 2015, President Obama honored Spielberg with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award whose purpose is to recognize “especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” According to a White House press release, Spielberg was chosen for the award because of his USC Shoah Foundation’s commitment to “overcoming intolerance and bigotry through the use of visual history testimony.”

Supporting Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign (2016)

During Hillary Clinton’s presidential run in 2015-16, Spielberg was among the top donors to the Priorities USA Action Super PAC campaign to elect Mrs. Clinton. As of March 2016, Spielberg had donated $1 million to that organization.

According to journalist Edward Klein, Bill Clinton at one point convinced Hillary to enlist Spielberg’s assistance in developing, with the help of acting coaches, a repertoire of speech and gesture patterns that would make her seem more likable and thereby enhance her political fortunes. The experiment ended abruptly, however, when Mrs. Clinton reportedly became frustrated with the process and angrily knocked a camera off its tripod.

On April 15, 2016, Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, collaborated with DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and billionaire entertainment mogul Haim Saban to co-host a presidential campaign fundraiser for Hillary Clinton at the residence of Hollywood actor George Clooney. For two seats at the head table with Mrs. Clinton, a couple was required to contribute or raise $353,400.

Calling for More “Diversity” in Hollywood, & Boasting That He Is “Colorblind”

In February 2016, Spielberg said it was “very, very important” that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was making an effort to make its membership more racially and ethnically diverse “in a proactive way.” “But it’s not just the Academy, and I think we have to stop pointing fingers and blaming the Academy,” he elaborated. “It’s people that hire, it’s people at the main gate of studios and independents. It’s the stories that are being told. It’s who’s writing diversity — it starts on the page. And we all have to be more proactive in getting out there and just seeking talent.” When asked whether he himself was in the habit of taking diversity considerations into account when deciding who would constitute the cast and crew members of his own cinematic productions, Spielberg said: “Look, I have two black children, you know? I’ve been colorblind my entire life. When you just look at the films I’ve made, and look at the people who’ve worked on those films — look at  the diversity within the crew, within the cast — I’ve always [had it].”

Smearing Donald Trump As a Man of Hate, “Tribalism,” & “Islamophobia”

On May 26, 2016, Spielberg delivered a commencement speech to Harvard University’s Class of 2016. In the course of his remarks, he issued a thinly veiled attack at presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. “We are a nation of immigrants … at least for now,” said Spielberg, eliciting laughter and applause from the graduates. He also said: “I don’t have to tell a crowd of Red Sox fans that we are wired for tribalism. Instinctively, and maybe even genetically, we divide the world into us and them.”

Urging the graduates to use their energies and talents to help improve the world by finding “a villain to vanquish,” Spielberg said: “And you’re all in luck. This world is full of monsters. And there’s racism, homophobia, ethnic hatred, class hatred, there’s political hatred, and religious hatred.” “There’s still so much work to be done,” he added. “Islamophobia is on the rise because there’s no difference between anyone who is discriminated against. Whether it’s the Muslims, or the Jews, or minorities on the border states, or the LGBT community, it is all one big hate.”

Yet another way for the young graduates to effect social change, Spielberg added, would be to vote in political elections and to “peaceably protest.”

Lamenting the Vast “Chasm” Dividing Americans on the Left & Right

In a December 2017 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Spielberg spoke about the deep political divisions in the American populace. “We live in an area where we don’t know a lot of red-state voters,” he said. “Well, I know a lot because I have friends and family in other parts of this country, and so at dinner-table conversations outside of California, I’m completely mute or I get into these huge rows. The gray and the blue have become the blue and the red. And it is as vast a chasm as our nation faced before the Civil War. I’ve never seen anything like it.” When asked to name media figures whom he most admired, Spielberg said: “I like Don Lemon. I like Rachel Maddow. Yeah, and I adore and follow Christiane Amanpour.”

Pledging $500,000 to “March for Our Lives” Anti-Gun Group

In February 2018, Spielberg pledged $500,000 to the student gun-control organization “March for Our Lives,” which had been formed in response to a mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida a few days earlier. He said in a statement: “The young students in Florida and now across the country are already demonstrating their leadership with a confidence and maturity that belies their ages. Kate [wife Kate Capshaw] and I applaud their efforts to take a stand for the benefit of this and future generations. They are an inspiration to us all, and we are joining in this movement with a donation of $500,000.” Other luminaries who likewise pledged $500,000 apiece were Oprah Winfrey, the husband-wife duo of Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife Marilyn, and the husband-wife team of George Clooney and his wife Amal.

Working with Hillary Clinton on TV Drama Series

In the summer of 2018, Amblin TV, the television production division of Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, named Hillary Clinton as an executive producer of a project whose mission was to bring Elaine Weiss’ 2018 book The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, to television. Eventually, it was announced that the final product would take the form of an anthology drama series on the teen-oriented CW network.

Decrying the “Collective Hate” Plaguing America

In a December 2018 interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt, Spielberg spoke about what he viewed as the grave danger that “collective hate” posed to American society: “Individual hate is a terrible thing, but when collective hate organizes and gets industrialized, then genocide follows. I think there is more at stake today than even back then. We have to take it more seriously today than I think we have had to take it in a generation.”

Spielberg’s Daughter Enters the Pornographic Film Industry

In February 2020, Spielberg’s 23-year-old adopted daughter, Mikaela Spielberg, announced that she was planning to launch a career as a pornographic video actress. Claiming that her parents were “intrigued” but “not upset” by her decision, she said: “I got really tired of not being able to capitalize on my body, and frankly, I got really tired of being told to hate my body. And I also just got tired of working day-to-day in a way that wasn’t satisfying my soul.” “I feel like doing this kind of work, I’m able to ‘satisfy’ other people, but that feels good because it’s not in a way that makes me feel violated,” the young woman added. “… This isn’t like an ‘end of the road’ or ‘I’ve hit bottom’ choice. This is a positive, empowering choice. I realized there is no shame in having a fascination with this industry and wanting to do something that is safe, sane, consensual.”

Donating $1 Million to “Racial and Economic Justice” Organizations

In March 2021, Spielberg said that he planned to donate his $1 million Genesis Prize — which he had recently received from Israel in recognition of his contribution to cinema, his philanthropic endeavors, and his efforts to preserve the memory of the Holocaust — to ten nonprofit organizations dedicated to the advancement of racial and economic justice. Asserting that that Judaism was replete with “the ethical precepts commanding us to work for a more just and equitable world,” he said: “America is facing a crisis, and our responsibility is to act now.” The recipients of Spielberg’s donations were: Avodah, Black Voters Matter, Collaborative for Jewish Organizing, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action, Jews of Color Initiative, Justice for Migrant Women, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Native American Rights Fund, One Fair Wage and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “We admire these organizations for their honesty and moral imagination and urge all those who share this vision to join us, so that the work of these non-profits may continue and grow,” Spielberg said in a statement.

Attending Barack Obama’s 60th Birthday Party

In August 2021, Spielberg was one of a select group of high-profile guests who attended Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party at Obama’s 30-acre, $12 million oceanfront home in Martha’s Vineyard.

Spielberg’s Vast Wealth

As of November 2021, Spielberg had a net worth of approximately $3.7 billion.

Further Reading:Steven Spielberg” (Biography.com); Steven SpielbergA Biography (by Kathi Jackson, 2007)

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