The Corner

Al Sharpton vs. the Oskkkars

I heard the news today. Oh, boy! Al Sharpton has called an emergency meeting.

Hallelujah!

At last, an emergency meeting to address the 10.4 percent black unemployment rate. That is well above the overall 5.6 percent jobless figure and more than double the 4.8 percent of whites who are without work.

Well, if not that, surely Sharpton plans an emergency meeting on the fact that 32 percent of black students never graduate from high school. How can black Americans advance when a third of us never make it out of the K-12 system? Well, they do, but their minds don’t.

Okay, then, Sharpton must be arranging an emergency meeting to address the 5,635 blacks who were murdered by other blacks in 2013. This is a massive and tragic outrage, especially compared to the estimated 96 blacks who were killed by white cops that year, according to the latest data. (This includes armed and unarmed people, accidents, and the justifiable deaths of black criminals who were shot by cops as they broke the law.) For every black person killed by white cops, 58 were murdered by fellow black people. Surely this merits an emergency meeting.

No such luck!

Sharpton will stage an emergency meeting to pout because the only black-oriented Academy Award nomination this year is the Best Picture bid for Selma. That film is the first major title to focus on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Evidently, there are emergencies, and then there are EMERGENCIES!

Sharpton complains that “The movie industry is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher you get, the whiter it gets.”

How odd.

Just last year, Hollywood looked like less like the Rockies and more like Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The most recent Academy Award for Best Picture went to 12 Years a Slave, a gripping and very tough-to-watch true story about a free man sold into slavery and brutalized, along with other blacks owned as personal property. Hollywood did not flinch from depicting the physical agony endured by those trapped in that barbaric institution. The movie accurately could have been called 12 Years of Lashings. It also won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o) and Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley). The film was nominated in six other categories, including Best Director (Steve McQueen).

So, if Sharpton is correct, in just twelve months, the Academy Awards have devolved from a celebration of black cinematic achievement to the Oskkkars.

Meanwhile, Cheryl Boone Isaacs does not look like the Rocky Mountains. That’s because she is black. Isaacs is the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which bestows those coveted gold statuettes.

Sharpton’s “emergency meeting” and threatened “possible action around the Academy Awards” are likely about how to shake down Hollywood.

On January 4, the New York Post detailed Sharpton’s successful and highly lucrative extortion of major corporations. Major companies show him the money as soon as he yells “Racism!”

According to the Post, General Motors paid Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) $5,000 in both 2007 and 2008 after he picketed the car maker’s Fifth Avenue headquarters. In 1998, Sharpton threatened a consumer boycott of Pepsi. It then paid him $25,000 annually as an adviser until 2007. Last October, Sharpton raised $1 million for NAN at his own birthday soiree. Corporate donors that night included AT&T, McDonald’s, Verizon, and Walmart. Sharpton must have made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

The Oskkkars flap is starting to look like a similar bonanza. Sharpton and his pals should be able to clean up by threatening to scream very loudly at the motion picture industry — unless the studios donate to NAN, buy corporate sponsorships at events, and name Sharpton & Co. to various boards, diversity panels, etc.

The Mafia’s protection rackets never had it this good.

If Sharpton actually wants to do something productive, he should follow the advice of the Wall Street Journal’s John Carney. Standing this morning just outside the offices of America’s new paper of record, Carney observed that Hollywood’s crafts unions are very tight and equally white. One way to see more black people nominated for Academy Awards is for more black people to work in the movies. That is harder to do when unions make it needlessly difficult to land jobs in sound, lighting, set design, editing, cinematography, acting, writing, and direction.

Sharpton should arrange an emergency meeting to demand a right-to-work law in Hollywood. Once the predominantly white unions that permeate the motion-picture industry loosen their grip, it should be much easier for black folks to get hired in that side of show business. Today’s newly assigned assistant cameraman may become tomorrow’s Academy Award-winning Best Director.

When Al Sharpton holds an emergency meeting to break the monopoly of Hollywood’s unions, I promise to start the applause.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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