By Roger L. Simon
Last week, I had a remarkable phone call with a person—I’m equivocating to protect their identity, though I assure you that person was either male or female, not in the least transgendered—from my former home in the Los Angeles area, regarding Hollywood and COVID-19 or, as it’s known hereabouts, the CCP virus.
Ironically, this was exactly one week before the deadline for Oscar voting. Although no longer working in the industry, I’ve been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since the mid-’80s but never have I received so many emails, texts, and phone calls reminding me to vote.
This tells me that other members may be as bored with the process as I am. Who wants to vote in the event, let alone watch it?
Besides being reactionary in its obsession with race and sexual identity, “woke” Hollywood just isn’t fun (or entertaining) anymore.
Even less fun for all of us was COVID-19, but for Hollywood, it was especially inconvenient because of the stringent California laws that the studios took to with alacrity. You had no career without mRNA certification. You were supposed to be vaccinated just to get on the studio lot.
The phone call I mentioned above was with a person who works in the entertainment industry and said they obtained—through connections—vaccination record cards for use by major Hollywood celebrities and others.
These aren’t counterfeits, but actual cards purloined from a hospital pharmacy where the vaccines were sold and included batch numbers but without names attached. In essence, they were contraband.
The person claims to have been inspired to do something for people in the face of forced vaccination after news emerged that the virus might have been the result of a lab leak in Wuhan, China, and that the government had been lying about the pandemic in general.
My interlocutor says they began selling the cards in early April 2021. Between then and early October of that year, calls were apparently coming in every day for contraband cards.
The individual estimates that they sold at least 250 of the cards during that period. When asked whether they were afraid of the Justice Department and IRS because of this, the answer was affirmative.
The celebrities for whom this person made these counterfeits were almost uniformly liberals or progressives, at least publicly. In other words, if you asked them, they supported mandates, masks, and so forth, sometimes adamantly. Behind the scenes was another matter.
The stories this person told me were amusing, nauseating, and, in some sense, edifying all at once. We have long known that Hollywood types are some of the most hypocritical people on the planet—living large while endlessly lecturing the little folk on climate and the rest—but this may take the proverbial cake.
Many of this person’s clients, I was told, were well aware of details of the growing concerns about potential side effects of the vaccines—particularly in the reproductive area. Not surprisingly then, the person estimated 90 percent of the clients were female.
The general state of these people was described as fear and paranoia, reminiscent of the 1980 Lichtenstein-like cartoon in the LA Weekly that showed an anguished female studio executive intoning, “NUCLEAR WAR? There goes my career!”
It didn’t always go well.
One of my informant’s clients—a well-known entertainer whose name I was assured I would know—was allegedly upset that a favorite local sports team was demanding proof of vaccination for entry, even at the VIP entrance.
So this person apparently panicked when offered a card by my interlocutor. It was said there would be ushers at all entrances with iPads, checking the cards against the California state database.
My informant replied the database was hodgepodge—apparently, 30 percent of vaccinations were never recorded—and that the celeb should just insist the card was valid, loudly, if necessary, and all would be well. The entertainer apparently replied that was fine for the man and woman on the street, but if the celeb made a fuss, it would be on TMZ before morning, a career-ender like the 1980s cartoon.
The celeb ended up giving the VIP tickets, sans card, to the entertainer’s manager, only to find out later that no one was at the door checking anything.
This paranoia, or was it just the reality of that world, carried through with another well-known actress, who allegedly wanted cards for herself and her partner. But she was so worried about being found out that she wouldn’t allow my informant to go to her house or for her to go to theirs, nor would she meet my informant in a public place. She ended up sitting with them in the informant’s driveway squeezed inside her Corvette (where have we heard that lately?) so that no one could see or record that they had met.
As noted above, not all the clients were celebs. My interlocutor was even approached for help by three nurses from a large area hospital who my informant said actually turned out to be—irony of ironies—their compliance department. They had plenty of information about the inadequacies of the aforementioned database.
I asked my interlocutor whether the Hollywood clients learned anything from these dealings, having to confront their hypocrisy up close. The response was tentatively positive in some instances, but only in a few.
Do I think this person was being honest with me? Yes, absolutely. The knowledge of the terrain—that I knew well from decades as a screenwriter—was too exact.