Major Hollywood figures have teamed up to bankroll the effort to prevent the recall aiming to oust California Gov. Gavin Newsom next month.
Executives, directors, producers and actors have opened their pocketbooks to protect Newsom, who faces a recall on Sept. 14. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has contributed a whopping $3 million to the political action committee defending Newsom, according to the California Secretary of State's Office. The Entertainment Software Association contributed $50,000, while Paramount Pictures gave $40,000 and the Motion Picture Association spent $10,000 on the effort.
The singer/songwriter John Roger Stephens, known as John Legend, urged Californians to vote against the recall.
"Don’t DeSantis our California. Reject the ridiculous recall. Vote No and return your ballot by 9/14," Stephens tweeted. He singled out Larry Elder, the top-polling Republican challenging Newsom, for special criticism. "Florida COVID deaths are higher now than ever. The leading GOP recall candidate sees them as role models. That’s foolish. Vote NO for this nonsense."
Newsom faces harsh criticism for imposing strict lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that his restrictions undermined religious freedom. Many Californians also fault him for hypocrisy, after the governor attended a dinner at the French Laundry in violation of his COVID-19 guidance.
Other notable donors around Hollywood include Laurene Powell Jobs, widow to Apple founder Steve Jobs, who contributed $200,000; Marissa Meyer, former president of Yahoo, who also gave $200,000; and Democratic donor Dagmar Dolby, who gave $100,000, according to California records.
According to reports, consulting firm Gonring, Lin, Spahn organized a Zoom fundraiser hosted by Jeffrey Katzenberg, Casey Wasserman, Andrew Hauptman and Van Fletcher. The fundraiser reportedly drew about a dozen attendees, including Rob and Michelle Reiner, Alan and Cindy Horn, Byron Allen, Janet and Barry Land, Ann Sarnoff, and Matt Walden. The event reportedly raised more than $1 million to fight the recall.
Director Steven Spielberg reportedly contributed $25,000 to the anti-recall effort, and actress Barbra Streisand reportedly gave $2,500.
California voters have a two-stage ballot for the recall. First, they choose whether or not to recall the governor. Then, they vote for the candidate they'd prefer to replace Newsom.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Newsom currently leads in the polls with 50.6% of the vote to 46.3% in favor of recalling the governor. The recall effort would have to gain 50% plus one vote in order to proceed.