Actor Richard Dreyfuss, best known for his iconic roles in Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, recently weighed in on Big Tech’s seemingly-selective censorship, asserting that the industry’s current practices go against the the very essence of the First Amendment in the Constitution.
In an interview with political commentator and talk show host Megyn Kelly, Dreyfuss explained that Facebook’s new “hate speech” policies introduced amidst the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine are not only “despicable,” but also a threat to free speech.
As Kelly notes, Meta president Mark Zuckerberg recently changed the social media platform’s “hate speech” policy in an effort to allow users to openly call for violence against Russian soldiers entering Ukraine.
Asked for his opinion on these changes, Dreyfuss told Kelly, “I think it’s despicable, and I think it’s breaking the most fundamental part of the First Amendment.”
“I think that we’ve fattened us up so that we can be cut up into thin strips and put on the stupid grill,” he explained. “The real problem is [Zuckerberg] is not calling for this, he says as…this geopolitical fight.”
The Academy Award-winning actor elaborated, “He’s saying that he has freedom of speech, and as an owner of the First Amendment, he tells you what’s fair and balanced. Calling for the incitement to violence and the reform of the…is okay to assassinate Vladimir Putin is not what was meant, and is not meant today.”
Kelly then turned to the subject of how Big Tech initially censored The New York Post’s story about emails exchanged between son of President Joe Biden, Hunter and Ukrainian businessman Vadym Pozharskyi – reports that the Washington Post and The New York Times just recently admitted to be real – to which Dreyfuss declared,”There is a complete, apparently, lack of trust in the brains of our young people.”
“We think that they will be putty in the hands of an influencer or a social network owner,” the Academy Award-winning actor elaborated, “This happens, and has been happening since social media has been our constant companion for many years.
“We may not be able to affect what the leaders of the Russians do on the ground…in the pay of a foreign government, but we have our own rules and they are the most important rules we have,” he continued. “We have ethics and values expressed not on a list at the end of the Constitution, but right smack-dab in the middle of the Constitution are the things that they say are irrefutable and basic.”
Previously a life-long Democrat, Richard Dreyfuss announced in 2011 that he was abandoning his political affiliation because he thought it could negatively affect his non-profit, non-partisan civics endeavour.
Started by the actor in 2007, the eponymously named Dreyfuss Civics Initiative seeks to “revive the teaching of civics in American public education to empower future generations with the critical-thinking skills they need to fulfill the vast potential of American citizenship.”
During an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson in April of 2017, Dreyfuss expanded on his withdrawl from partisan politics, declaring himself to be a “constitutionalist who believes that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be central and the [political] parties must be peripheral.”
“What’s most important for me is we are over 30 [and] civics has not been taught in the American public school system since 1970,” Dreyfuss said. “That means that everyone in Congress never studied the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, and that is a critical flaw because it’s why we were admired and respected for so long.”
Dreyfuss also found himself in agreement with Carlson’s past reporting on free speech being eliminated from several universities around the country — including the University of Oregon and even Harvard University — sharing the opinion that “any intrusion into freedom of speech is an intrusion into freedom of speech.”
“You were talking about the speakers on university campuses, and I am totally, incontrovertibly on your side about this,” he admitted the Academy Award-winning actor. “I think any intrusion into freedom of speech is an intrusion into freedom of speech.”
Dreyfuss then recalled that “when one of the presidents of one of the colleges said, ‘this is a school, not a battlefield,’ I said, ‘no, it is a battlefield of ideas and we must have dissonant, dissenting opinions on campuses,’ and I think it’s political correctness taken to a nightmarish point of view.”
What do you make of Dreyfuss’ comments on Big Tech’s censorship and its threatening of free speech and the First Amendment? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below or on social media.