A tweet from Ben Stiller kicked off a discussion on nepotism during Thursday’s edition of “The View”.
At issue was Stiller’s response to a tweet from TV and film producer Franklin Leonard, sharing a Deadline report about a new project featuring Hopper Penn (son of Sean Penn), Owen King (son of author Stephen King) and Destry Spielberg (daughter of director Steven Spielberg), pointing out the obvious nepotism at play.
Too easy @franklinleonard. People, working, creating. Everyone has their path. Wish them all the best.
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 28, 2021
In a series of back-and-forth posts, Stiller — son of late comedy duo Jerry Stiller and Ann Meara — insisted Hollywood was a “meritocracy,” while Leonard disagreed, explaining that not everyone has access to the same opportunities in Hollywood, particularly when it comes to diversity.
Moderator Whoopi Goldberg kicked things off by asking Meghan McCain for her opinion, pointing out that as the daughter of late Sen. John McCain she comes “from notable stock.”
“What’s interesting about this topic is all of our children will have the same problem too, because everyone on this show is well known. I can only speak for myself, but every single door I’ve walked in my entire life, people automatically assume you’re going to be a lazy, spoiled brat that won’t contribute everything because you have famous parents. It’s something I have dealt with my entire life,” McCain responded.
“I no longer care, I think my work and my work ethic speaks for itself. But I think people think when you have a famous family or famous parents, everything’s just given to you and everything’s really easy,” she continued.
“The majority of people I know who have famous parents have struggled with very serious demons because every single thing you do… is gonna be compared to what the famous person has done. It’s a tall order. I can never be a war hero presidential candidate,” she said, referring to her late father. “I don’t think that’s going to be in my cards in the future. I know it’s not. But people will still always compare you and it can be something that you struggle with and you take home with you.”
Explaining that “nobody’s gonna feel sorry for a person with famous parents,” she added, “It really isn’t always what people think. In fact, it almost never is. I feel bad for these kids trying to make a movie. And I’m sure they got help because of who their parents are. If the movie’s crap, it’s crap and we’ll see how it ends up being.”
Hostin, however, disagreed, telling McCain that “life is not a meritocracy,” telling McCain, “That’s just false and that’s just a false narrative to push. Social position is determined, in large part, by the lottery of your birth and access is everything.”
Hostin continued: “There are many, many talented people that will never have that kind of access and access is key in any industry. Franklin Leonard said he rejects the claim the industry, even in the long term, is a meritocracy. If it were, how would you explain the utter lack of diversity behind the camera? Is that a lack of merit? How do you explain the wealth gap in this country? How come African Americans are having a hard time across industries, is it because we’re lazy? Is it because of a lack of talent? No, we lack access. And that’s what this is really all about. The movie may be great, the movie may suck, but now they have a movie on their resume and that’s gonna help them in the long run.”