Dwayne Johnson regrets endorsing Joe Biden in 2020, says cancel culture ‘really bugs’ him: 

‘Tears me up’

Wesley Stenzel

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

It was either talk about the dumb-ass state of Arizona where I now live. Or Kareem talking about why Dwayne he is not endorsing Joe Biden again.

SUMMARYDwayne Johnson endorsed Joe Biden during his 2020 election campaign — but now he says he regrets that decision, and won’t be making political endorsements again anytime soon.

The Black Adam star expressed remorse about his political past and cast skepticism on the state of the nation in an interview with Fox News’ Will Cain this week. “Am I happy with the state of America right now? Well, that answer’s no,” he said. “Do I believe we’re gonna get better? I believe in that. I’m an optimistic guy, and I believe we can get better.”

Johnson continued, “The endorsement that I made years ago with Biden was one I thought was the best decision for me at that time… And I thought back then, when we talk about, ‘Hey, you know, I’m in this position where I have some influence and it’s my job then … to exercise my influence and share… this is who I’m going to endorse.'”

But Johnson has shifted his perspective. “Am I gonna do that again this year? That answer is no, I’m not gonna do that, because what I realized — what that caused back then — was something that tears me up in my guts, back then and now, which is division,” he said. “And that got me. The takeaway after that, months and months and months, I started to realize, like, ‘Oh man, that caused an incredible amount of division in our country.’”

The Pain & Gain actor further explained his reasoning for not endorsing either candidate this year.

“I realize now going into this election, I’m not gonna do that, and I wouldn’t do that because my goal is to bring our country together,” he said. “There’s gonna be no endorsement. Not that I’m afraid of it at all, but it’s just, I realize that this level of influence, I’m gonna keep my politics to myself. And I think it’s between me and the ballot box.”

…Elsewhere in his Fox interview, Johnson decried cancel culture. “Today’s easy cancel-culture world, and cancel culture, woke culture, this culture, that culture, division, et cetera, that really bugs me,” he said. “In the spirit of that, you either succumb and be what you think other people want you to be, or you go, ‘Well, no, that’s not who I am. I’m gonna be myself, and I’m gonna be real.’ If you ask me something, a real answer is important, and the truthful answer’s important. And that may get people upset, it may piss people off, and that’s okay.”

MY TAKE (Kareem):

Like most of America, I’m a huge fan of Johnson. I’ve seen all of his movies and TV shows. (I’ve even favorably reviewed both.) But his comments about endorsements and cancel culture do not get a favorable review.

I completely agree with him that he is under no obligation to endorse anyone. If he wants to keep his politics private, he should.

However, it’s naive to think that because he’s not endorsing a candidate, he’s not influencing the election. First, he’s conducting this interview on Fox, which is a surrogate for Trump. Second, by stating that he won’t endorse Biden and that it was a mistake to do so before, he’s subtly endorsing Trump. When you endorse a candidate one time and then make a splashy public statement that you won’t endorse him again, you’re meant to do damage to his campaign. It’s disingenuous to imply he’s staying out of the race.

Johnson’s claim that his endorsement caused divisiveness is also flimsy logic. There already was divisiveness. There has always been political divisiveness in this country because that’s the nature of having a democracy. Since the sixties, people have been more vocal about their differences because they became less submissive to the government, less trusting. For good reason. The Pentagon Papers and the Nixon Tapes revealed just how extensively the people were being lied to. Trump’s documented 30,000 lies, including one about the seriousness of COVID-19, has only perpetuated this distrust. Social media allows more people to express their opinions, which gives the impression of greater divisiveness when in fact it’s just the usual.

Johnson’s reaction to “cancel culture” is equally vague and baffling. It’s a buzz phrase among conservatives that riles them up, even as they go about canceling books in schools, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and suppressing the votes of Blacks, the elderly, and students. I agree with him that sometimes companies are too quick to fire someone based on a political comment, but he never gives any examples, so we don’t know what he’s specifically referring to. Insurrectionists? Comedians?

He says, “If you ask me something, a real answer is important, and the truthful answer’s important. And that may get people upset, it may piss people off, and that’s okay.” Wait, isn’t upsetting people and pissing them off causing the very divisiveness he wants to prevent? And is it being “real” to pretend not to be endorsing a candidate while subtly endorsing one?

Of course, none of this changes my commitment to watching his shows. He’s still one of the most entertaining performers around. I wouldn’t cancel him just for making dubious and contradictory statements.