By Jeff Louderback
Celebrities who include Hollywood A-listers are endorsing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s 2024 presidential bid.
Pierce Brosnan, best known for his portrayal of James Bond, and musician Eric Clapton are the latest public figures to back Mr. Kennedy.
Since announcing his candidacy to challenge President Joe Biden for the Democrat Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, Mr. Kennedy has gained backing in unexpected places, including from conservatives and supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Hollywood is typically a city where stars favor far-left-leaning politicians, but multiple personalities there have publicly announced their support for Mr. Kennedy, whose campaign message is to “heal the divide” and unify Republicans and Democrats.
He posted a photo on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sept. 21 that showed him with Mr. Brosnan. A caption reads: “Two Irishmen at the Kennedy for President fundraiser on Point Dume last night.”
Born in Ireland, the 70-year-old actor gained U.S. citizenship in 2004 so that he could vote for John Kerry in the presidential election, according to the Irish Examiner. Mr. Kerry lost to President George W. Bush.
As of Sept. 27, the post had received 1.5 million views.
Mr. Brosnan was initially critical of President Trump and threatened to leave the country if he was elected in 2016. During President Trump’s term, though, he reversed his stance and said that his tenure was “very good” for the U.S. economy.
Mr. Brosnan faced vitriol from some fans. One person labeled him a “traitor,” and another said that Mr. Kennedy “ruined Pierce for everyone.”
The post also gained a favorable reaction from backers of both men.
One person wrote: “007 and RFK Jr powerful duo!”
“James Bond has your back and that’s pretty cool,” another commenter wrote.
Woody Harrelson is another actor who has received backlash for supporting Mr. Kennedy.
Actress Cheryl Hines—who’s RFK Jr.’s wife and gained acclaim from her role in “Curb Your Enthusiasm”—posted a selfie earlier this year of her standing with Mr. Harrelson, who wore a “Kennedy 2024” hat.
“Great seeing you Woody,” Ms. Hines wrote in a caption that accompanied the photo.
Mr. Harrelson, who publicly criticized the COVID-19 vaccine, faced backlash on social media for wearing the hat.
At the Iowa State Fair, Mr. Kennedy grinned when asked by a reporter about Mr. Harrelson.
“One thing is he doesn’t like cellphones. It’s conceivable that he does not know about all of the controversy. He doesn’t watch TV. He doesn’t have his cellphone, and he’s kind of off the grid,” Mr. Kennedy said.
Last month, musician Eric Clapton performed at a private fundraiser for Mr. Kennedy near Los Angeles, raising $1 million for the campaign and $1.2 million for American Values 2024, a PAC supporting Mr. Kennedy’s presidential bid.
Leading to the event, Mr. Clapton called it a performance for “truth, unity, peace, and posterity.”
“I sometimes think that in our divided society, it is music rather than any kind of intellectual agreement that has the most potential to bring us together again,” Mr. Kennedy said.
“Eric sings from the depths of the human condition. If he sees in me the possibility of bringing unity to our country, it is only possible because artists like him invoke a buried faith in the limitless power of human beings to overcome any obstacle.”
In June, “Saturday Night Live” alum and actor Rob Schneider appeared next to Mr. Kennedy in a photo that the entertainer posted on the X platform.
Mr. Schneider told Larry King in a 2017 interview that he was once a lifelong Democrat but had shifted to an independent who’s “definitely more conservative.”
“Inspiring, hopeful, courageous, and most importantly [like his father] compassionate,” Mr. Schneider wrote about Mr. Kennedy.
Actress Alicia Silverstone backed Mr. Kennedy in a June Instagram post.
“Last year, I canceled my Democratic party registration and registered as an independent voter. Like many others, I am deeply disappointed with political leadership at every turn,” she wrote, adding that she’s tired of “the division, the lies, [and] the profiteering at the expense of the people and public health.”
Like Mr. Kennedy, Ms. Silverstone has been outspoken about the safety of some vaccines.
She said that she has worked with Mr. Kennedy on children’s health and environmental issues for more than a decade.
Mr. Kennedy is an environmental attorney and founder of the nonprofit Children’s Health Defense.
Americans who feel “disenfranchised by our government” should give Mr. Kennedy a chance in the 2024 campaign, Ms. Silverstone said, because he could unite the country and help “young and old to trust our government once again.”
“I love his vision of peace, unity, and justice for all. I am uplifted by his commitment to protect civil and worker rights as well as our children’s health. We need leaders who will resolve poverty, pollution, inequality, and stop wars. Bobby is that leader,” she wrote.
Mr. Kennedy hasn’t commented about the impact of Hollywood figures backing his campaign, but the common theme for that support is the candidate’s vow to “heal the divide” and “unify the country.”
He’s the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963, and the son of Robert F. Kennedy, who was shot and killed after a campaign speech while running for president in 1968.
During his town halls and meet-and-greets, Mr. Kennedy tells stories from time spent with his uncle and father and connects them to his presidential campaign.
He has said that he wants to continue his father’s legacy of uniting Americans from all economic classes and ethnic backgrounds.
“I think we do that by telling the truth to people. My Dad did it that way. He talked about uncomfortable issues but talked about the truth. I think people are tired of being lied to by the government, by the media,” Mr. Kennedy said.
“My Dad ran against an incumbent president in his own party [Lyndon B. Johnson] during a divisive time. I’m running against a larger challenge because I am facing an entire infrastructure that is against me, from my own party and Big Tech and the pharmaceutical industry.”
Although he’s a distant second to President Biden in every national poll, Mr. Kennedy has a higher favorability rating than any other 2024 presidential candidate, according to a July Harvard–Harris survey.
He drew a favorable rating of 47 percent and an unfavorable mark of 26 percent, according to a survey of 2,068 registered voters, conducted July 19–20 and released on July 23.
Former President Trump carried a favorability rating of 45 percent compared with an unfavorability number of 49 percent. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a 40 percent favorable rating and a 37 percent unfavorable rating, and President Biden’s rating was 39 percent favorable and 53 percent unfavorable.
Mr. Kennedy also had the highest net favorability of all 2024 presidential candidates in a June poll from The Economist/YouGov.
Along with backing from widely known actors and entertainers, he has also received support from podcaster Joe Rogan, who said that he would vote for the candidate, and from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
Mr. Dorsey in June wrote on X that “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues he can beat Trump and DeSantis in 2024. He can and will.”
At a meet-and-greet with supporters last weekend in Texas, Mr. Kennedy said that he continues to “haggle” with the Democratic National Committee about holding “fair primary” elections and that he’s “exploring all options” as speculation mounts that he could run as an independent or a third-party candidate.
Mr. Kennedy was scheduled to speak at a meet-and-greet on Sept. 28 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where his campaign was to host a grand opening of its New Jersey headquarters.