12 months ago
Even if President Trump did attend this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, celebrities would have avoided Washington’s most highly anticipated annual event, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I’ve heard nothing about the actual WHCD. Nobody wants to come,” Elizabeth Thorp, editor in chief of PYPO.com, told THR. “Obama was beloved, but the current administration … they’re doing a disservice to themselves by not going. Listen, there are things you have to do when you’re the leader of the free world that are really hard, like show up to a dinner where you get teased. But he can’t handle it. He’ll stay up all night and tweet about it.”
Various companies who represent and advise Hollywood talent told THR that, despite the star-studded attendance the dinner has seen in recent years, the toxic political climate in D.C. is what’s keeping people away from the nearly century-old tradition meant to honor journalists and their profession.
“Trump’s presence in D.C. has soured people’s inclination to show up,” Todd Hawkins, whose company, Hawkins Mikita, advises high-powered people like Jesse Tyler Ferguson on philanthropic and advocacy work, told THR. “My clients may be supporting the resistance from afar, but they don’t want to participate because they don’t want to appear that they’re even silently condoning the way he’s treated the press. There’s just nothing appealing about being in D.C. right now.”
Hawkins noted to THR that this isn’t a partisan boycott: “When Bush was president, there was still buzz. Celebrities with opposing views still went. But there’s just no excitement this year,” he reportedly said. “Over the last eight years, the Obama administration had made a significant connection with the entertainment community, and they came out to support him in force. But that’s just not going to happen with Trump. It’s a disappointment.”
This year’s dinner, which will be hosted by ‘The Daily Show’ comedian Hasan Minhaj, takes place this Saturday, April 29.