When Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards visited Hollywood in October, he was seeking money, not controversy. He got both.
The state’s Republican Party demanded Tuesday that Mr. Edwards apologize for allowing an anti-Trump Hollywood production to be made in Louisiana, saying it’s proof the incumbent governor is out of touch with the pro-Trump state.
The production was for “The Hunt,” a canceled Universal Studios movie that depicts liberals hunting down the “deplorables” — a phrase 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used to describe supporters of then-candidate Donald Trump.
Universal last week canceled the movie’s release, slated for Sept. 27, in the aftermath of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
“We are appalled that Gov. Edwards invited his progressive Hollywood friends to bring their hate-fueled propaganda into our backyard,” Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Louis Gurvich told The Washington Times.
“Louisiana overwhelmingly supports President Trump and we do not appreciate our tax dollars being siphoned off to fund a movie about murdering ordinary people because of their political beliefs,” Mr. Gurvich said in a statement. “We demand the governor apologize to the people of Louisiana and guarantee that this film and future projects like it will NEVER receive state incentives of any kind.”
Mr. Edwards said the purpose of his trip to Hollywood was to pitch filmmakers on the state’s incentives.
Yet with the exception of a state police security detail the law mandates accompany the governor, the trip’s costs were mostly covered by his campaign, showing it had a second purpose: fundraising.
While Mr. Edwards could not offer any concrete deals when he returned to New Orleans after the trip, his campaign war chest soon swelled by more than $30,000 with contributions from Sony, 21st Century Fox and other entertainment companies, according to his annual fundraising report.
The Washington Free Beacon Film Studios Donate to John Bel Edwards After Hollywood Trip
A flood of California political contributions went to Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards (D.) after he took a taxpayer-funded trip to Los Angeles that he said was aimed at boosting his state's business relationship with the film industry.
There was no mention of campaign activities when Edwards returned last year from meetings with Hollywood film executives to discuss the state’s motion-picture tax credit. He said the outlook was optimistic for growing the film industry’s presence in Louisiana but had no new projects to announce.
The most immediate impact from the trip, however, was new Hollywood donors for his political campaign.
A review of his most recent campaign filing shows that within a week of Edwards's trip he received $5,000 from Sony Pictures, $5,000 from Quixote Studios, $5,000 from the Motion Picture Association of America, and $5,000 each from Manhattan Beach Studios and one of its subsidiaries. A month later, the Edwards campaign received an additional $5,000 from Disney and $2,500 from Paramount, the filing shows.
None of the above-mentioned California-based studios had contributed to Edwards before, a review of his past disclosures found. In fact, the $32,500 he received from the studios far exceeded the sum of all other contributions he's received from California.