By: Peter Suciu
Pop singer Madonna took to social media platform Instagram earlier this month to post a series of photos and videos calling for Americans to "Wake up" in response to recent mass shootings. In her first post on the subject, the Material Girl compared gun control to the Covid-19 vaccine, writing, "There's a new vaccination! It's called GUN CONTROL! Should be mandatory. It will SAVE LIVES!"
What set Madonna apart from other celebrities who have increasingly called for gun control is that her argument blurred the lines with her calls for greater accountability from law enforcement in the wake of recent shootings, notably that of Adam Toledo. He was the 13-year old shot and killed by a police officer who believed Toledo was carrying a handgun.
"Yes, people kill people, not guns. If they were outlawed then no one would feel the need to own a gun to protect themselves from those who have guns," Madonna wrote in another caption. "As for police killing innocent children, shooting and suffocating and brutalizing innocent people, they should go immediately to jail for the rest of their lives. No trial, no corrupt justice system."
The pop singer, who has always been known for being controversial, also argued that there have been "over 130 mass shootings in the U.S. so far and we've only gotten to April."
Of course Madonna isn't the only celebrity to climb back on the soap box, calling for gun control. Dozens of celebrities, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Mia Farrow, and Julianne Moore have recently taken to social media to call for gun control.
All of them have one thing in common – they've appeared with guns in movies, on TV, or in Madonna's case, on stage. In 2012, during her MDNA tour, which was marred with controversy that included canceled legs, featured the pop star holding multiple guns, including what appeared to be a .357 Magnum and a replica AK-47. Photos online show that she broke many rules of firearms safety, including aiming the handgun at the audience as well as at her head.
She responded, "It's true there is a lot of violence in the beginning of the show and sometimes the use of fake guns – but they are used as metaphors. I do not condone violence or the use of guns."
It isn't the first time Madonna could be seen holding a gun either. When she appeared in the 1987 film Who's That Girl, she could be seen holding a Beretta 92F and a Steyr AUG A1 in various scenes. Additionally, she had starred in the 1990 action romp Dick Tracy with then-beau Warren Beatty, and while she might not have carried any firearms, the film certainly featured no shortage of violence.
That is a common theme with actors and actresses who speak out against guns. Jamie Foxx and Sean Penn have each become quite vocal in their calls for gun control, but each has a sizeable page on the Internet Movie Firearms Database (IMFDB). Foxx appeared in ten films where guns are involved, including films that featured notable bloodbaths such as Django Unchained and Baby Driver.
IMAGE: Jamie Foxx
CAPTION: We understand Jamie Foxx doesn't like guns, but he seems to know what he is doing with the H&K HK91 in 2007's The Kingdom.
Penn might not be an actual "action star," but he's been in 14 movies where he's used a gun. It is hard to take his stance seriously when he accepted a huge paycheck to star in such films as Gangster Squad, a highly fictionalized account of Los Angeles gangster Mickey Cohen. Remember it was Penn who criticized fellow actor Nicolas Cage for becoming a sell-out for the numerous films Cage starred in. But Gangster Squad is a classic example of over-the-top Hollywood nonsense that is filled with unnecessary action sequences. The real life Cohen was never involved in such an intense shootout, but Penn seemed to go all in.
How is it that celebrities can continually star in these over-the-top action films and never see the irony in their calls for gun control? An argument could be made that they're doing their job, they're acting, and they're not really supporting firearms or the violence in their films, but it rings hollow when they appear repeatedly in such action-packed films.
Moreover, in Penn's case, he called out his former friend for not being choosey or selective in his roles. That is an important consideration; these Hollywood celebrities can be selective. They can, and do, pass on roles that they feel uncomfortable with. Many actresses have nudity clauses and won't appear in films that require them to strip down, so why don't these Hollywood elites take a serious stance if they believe so firmly in the cause?
Quite the opposite is true: instead of stepping back from the movies, they these celebrities simply spout off on new platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
It was last month actress Jamie Lee Curtis posted on Twitter (@jamieleecurtis) with the hashtag #BanAssaultWeapons repeatedly.
Curtis isn't exactly an action star either, but she has been seen in half a dozen films with guns, including 1994's True Lies, where she was seen with an Ingram Model 10 (MAC-10).
Again, it might be easy to accept that these stars are really against guns if they weren't in so many films using firearms that few of us will ever get a chance to even hold. Hollywood likes to say that it shouldn't be held accountable for today's violent behavior, but yet so many celebrities pass the blame to the firearms.