The majority of Americans – more than 3 out of 4 – support significant abortion restrictions. But don’t expect the entertainment industry to reflect that.
From last year through 2018, Hollywood has not only given Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards celebrity status, but also boosted the image of America’s largest abortion provider in at least five different, though connected, ways: Food, awards shows, fashion, television shows, and social media.
These are all everyday things, but Planned Parenthood is anything but normal. According to Planned Parenthood’s most recently published annual report, the organization performed 321,384 abortions and received $543.7 million in “government health services, reimbursements & grants” for the year 2016 – 2017.
Since 1973, the year the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in this country, Planned Parenthood has committed 7.6 million abortions.
But those numbers don’t concern the entertainment industry that regularly spotlights Planned Parenthood. Here are five ways Planned Parenthood has seeped into entertainment:
On Thursday, actress and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi convinced her fellow judges to wear Planned Parenthood pins during the 15th season finale of Bravo’s chef show. Planned Parenthood, she claimed, was essential – just like food.
“We need food for survival, we also need privacy to deal with our own bodies as we see fit,” she tweeted in defense of the decision.
“I thought it was a gentle way of just giving support,” she told Buzzfeed afterwards. The pins expressed the judges’ “point of view,” Lakshmi insisted, as she called Top Chef a “neutral show” that’s “just about good food and good quality.”
This isn’t the first time media have intertwined Planned Parenthood and food. In the past year, both People magazine and feminist Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti interviewed Richards on her pie-baking secrets so that, as Valenti said, everyone would “know this incredible woman for who she really is.”
A few days before Top Chef, on March 4, Richards walked the red carpet and agreed to interviews at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony. In a (very friendly) interview with entertainment site Popsugar, Richards ironically revealed that she placed her hope in the “next generation.” Never mind that, according to pro-life organizations like the Susan B. Anthony List, 3.8 million abortions have occurred under her watch.
But that wasn’t the end of Richards’s involvement at the Oscars. Later that night, she appeared on stage with nine other activists as rapper Common and singer Andra Day performed their Oscar-nominated song, Stand Up for Something.
“Still pinching myself! It was an honor to share the #Oscars stage,” Richards tweeted.
Other awards shows happily welcome her, including PEN Center USA’s 27th annual Literary Awards Festival. Last year, Richards also attended to introduce author Margaret Atwood of The Handmaid’s Tale and present her with an award.
And when Planned Parenthood isn’t attending awards shows, they’re hosting them – for journalists. Throughout the years, since 1978, Planned Parenthood has delivered a total of 280 awards to journalists and outlets that promote or defend its messaging.
Speaking of awards shows, they’re a popular hub for Planned Parenthood-pin wearers – Top Chef wasn’t the first to flaunt them.
At the Oscars, both this year and last, celebrities donned the pins as fashion statements on the red carpet. Actresses Emma Stone and Dakota Johnson attracted the most media attention (and applause) for wearing them in 2017.
That same year, at the Golden Globes, actress Lola Kirke wore a “F*** Paul Ryan” pin in support of Planned Parenthood while actress Tracee Ellis Ross wanted to donate her Golden Globes jewelry to Planned Parenthood.
In February, actress Amber Tamblyn played Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger in Comedy Central’s Drunk History “Sex” episode. And last year, Planned Parenthood made appearances in shows including FX’s American Horror Story, Freeform’s The Bold Type and CW’s Jane the Virgin.
The trend continues on reality TV. In an October preview of a Keeping Up with the Kardashians episode on E!, sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloé visited Planned Parenthood to “learn firsthand that the nonprofit does more than just abortions.”
Last but not least, there are the late-night shows. Mila Kunis expressed support for Planned Parenthood on Conan, while Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin wore pins on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Richards herself has made appearances on shows like Late Night with Seth Meyers.
It’s easy to count to 100 and beyond when it comes to celebrities that support Planned Parenthood campaigns, especially on social media.
Last year, at least 20 celebrities, from Elizabeth Banks to Charlize Theron “pinked out” to support Planned Parenthood. As Congress considered defunding the abortion giant, 30 celebrities tweeted out variations of the same pro-Planned Parenthood message to a combined 120 million followers.
Planned Parenthood is well aware of its celebrity backing. In its annual reports, Planned Parenthood has repeatedly thanked celebrities for support, from John Legend to Lena Dunham.