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Don’t Bad Mouth Your Employer. . .Even If You’re Robert De Niro (Just Shut Up And Sing)

June 11, 2018

Yesterday was an entertainment industry award show. It was the Tony Awards for outstanding performances on Broadway. At least I think it was. Like many Americans, I don’t watch awards shows.

In 1974, when the US population was 213 million, about 10% of them watched the Tony Awards. It was actually 20.03M, or 9.4%. I’m told that in television numbers, that is a big deal.

The year’s Tony Awards were watched by 6.3M people. Down a lot from 45 years ago. The numbers look even worse when you consider that the US population today is 327M. That means that in 45 years the veiwers dropped from 9.4% to 1.9%. There are lots of reasons why. We have more ways to get the news. We don’t have to watch the show to know who wins, for example.

This trend is not unique to the Tony’s. All awards shows, and television in general have lost viewers.

Donald Trump’s popularity currently stands at 41.7%, according to poll tracking site, That’s really close to where Ronald Reagan and Barrack Obama were at this point in their presidencies. Actually, that’s not saying much. Because Reagan and Obama both took over failing economies, a year and a half in, neither had seen their policies start to turn the economy around. Trump on the other hand inherited a strong economy.

But, that’s not the point of this post. The point is that more than 40% of the American public approve of Donald Trump’s job as president. We all know he’s never been above 50%, not even on election night when he only garnered 46%, losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton who also didn’t garner 50% of the popular vote, but beat Trump by earning 48%.

But, that’s also not the point of this post.

The point is that 134,700,000 Americans give the president a thumbs up on his job performance.

It’s typically not a good idea to criticize your employer. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” comes to mind. I enjoy my job and I receive the accolades that my company offers those who do a good job. But, I have no doubt that were I to bad mouth them, or worse, if I were to insult our clients and customers, the people who pay us, I would be quickly given the opportunity to go be successful SOMEWHERE ELSE.

Robert De Niro spoke at the Tony Awards on Sunday night. In fact, the only reason I know the Tony Awards were on is the news coverage that Mr De Niro caused. I don’t know if he was hosting or just a presenter. Like I said, I, along with the vast majority of the public, don’t watch the awards shows.

De Niro departed from whatever prepared remarks he may have had to go on an expletive-laced tirade against the president. The show was broadcast live and the censors had a time keeping up with where to insert the *bleeps*.

A friend suggested that De Niro was brave for using his influence. She’s a good friend, but I think she’s wrong. No one watching the Tonys came away thinking, “I was okay with Trump until I heard that Bob De Niro didn’t like him. I’m out.”

And De Niro has made no secret of his desire to “punch the president in the face.” Okay, we get it. You don’t like him.

Here’s my issue with De Niro. If you are in an industry that relies on the public to pay you, why would you essentially alienate 40% of your audience? No one is going to quit watching the Tonys because of what De Niro said. In fact, he got a standing ovation from the glitterati in attendance. Sure, he was playing to his crowd.

But, you certainly are not going to build audience that way. De Niro is primarily known as a movie actor. The YTD domestic box office receipts for movies in 2018 are about $5.2B. It’s about on par with previous years. But, take out the three super hero movies (Black Panther, Infinity War and Deadpool 2) and that numbers drops to $3.6B. It’s not been a particularly good year when you consider the depth of the field. A few stars and a lot of less popular fare.

Whether you are part of the 40% that thinks President Trump is doing a good job, or the nearly 60% that thinks he isn’t, if you business depends on earning $5,000,000,000 by selling tickets at $9 each, you should be interested in attracting, or at least not driving away your audience.

So, to Mr De Niro, or Meryl Streep, or Hollywood’s talking-head du jour, we are your employer.

Shut up and sing already.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

  1. For people like Robert DeNiro and so many others who are successful in Hollywood or on Broadway, the point is no longer about making money: it’s about getting attention. Michael Medved, a movie reviewer for many years, has said that the producer of a blockbuster that has made hundreds of millions in box-office sales, such as “The Lion King”, can walk into a party and will be ignored by most everyone. But if Quentin Tarantino or Martin Scorsese, who have produced relatively few highly successful films, walk into a party, they’re lauded and fawned over. The big names in Hollywood are already so rich that big box-offices are much less of a draw than their opportunity to bloviate to as many who can stand it.

    • Even if We Niro is simply doing for effect, you would think the producers of the Tony’s and Hollywood studio heads would not want to alienate that many people.

      But, it’s an excellent point

    • BTW, what did you do with Is it somewhere else?

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