This is why these celebrities don’t vote

The celebrity world has typically set a good example when it comes to the issue of voting, undoubtedly even more so since perhaps the most polarizing president in U.S. history pledged to Make America Great Again.

“We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does,” remarked Beyonce in her powerful 2020 BET Awards acceptance speech. Selena Gomez reportedly even offered to slide into the DMs of any fan who could prove they’d registered to vote. Social media is always flooded with stars proudly showing off their colorful ‘I Voted’ stickers whenever a significant election takes place. And even outside major elections, some celebs are unabashed about using their platform for political purposes. 

But not every famous face is as keen to race toward the voting booth. In fact, there are some musicians, actors, and TV presenters who don’t even bother to make the trip at all. However, as you’re about to discover, their failure to rock the vote isn’t necessarily down to sheer laziness. 

Colin Kaepernick's protest extends to the voting booth

Colin Kaepernick has unarguably become just as renowned for his civil rights activism as his form for the San Francisco 49ers. The quarterback helped to propel the Black Lives Matter movement forward after he repeatedly took a knee whenever “The Star Spangled Banner” blared out prior to kick-off. Kaepernick’s public protest against racial inequality and police brutality incurred the wrath of President Donald Trump, who later argued that any player taking such a stance should be fired from the NFL.

Unsurprisingly, Kaepernick didn’t vote for Trump in the Presidential election of 2016. But he didn’t vote for anyone else, either, a tactic which some believe contradicted his previous call for change.

Following the 49ers’ defeat to the Arizona Cardinals, the footballer explained why he decided against a trip to the polling station. He explained to the press (via CNN), “I think it would be hypocritical for me to vote. I said from the beginning I was against oppression, I was against the system of oppression. I’m not going to show support for that system. To me, the oppressor isn’t going to let you vote your way out of your oppression.”

Diddy will 'hold the vote hostage'

The artist formerly known as Puff Daddy, P Diddy, Diddy, and countless other monikers may have changed his name more than most people change their underwear. And when it comes to voting, Sean Combs is similarly indecisive — sometimes campaigning hard for certain candidates, and other times advising the Black community not to vote at all. 

Ahead of the 2016 Presidential election, the hip-hop mogul told MSNBC’s Al Sharpton that he while he felt President Obama did “an excellent job,” he left African Americans “short-changed” during his two terms in the White House. He advised viewers of color, “Don’t pacify yourself, really revolutionize the game. Make them come for our vote. It’s a whole different strategy but I think we need to hold our vote, because I don’t believe any of them.”

Although Combs later campaigned for certain politicians and, in fact, did encourage voting, like in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race for Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum (shown above), he has repeatedly retreated to his stance of voter protest. In fact, during a 2020 appearance on supermodel Naomi Campbell’s YouTube series, Combs was arguably even more assertive, claiming that he would “hold the vote hostage if [he] had to.” He added, “The Black vote is not gon’ be for free. We’re gonna have to see some promises. We’re gonna have to understand what kind of deal we’re getting out of — what are we getting in return for our vote? Because nothing has changed in America for Black America.” 

Snoop Dogg thought he wasn't legally allowed to vote

“I ain’t never voted a day in my life, but this year I think I’m going to get out and vote because I can’t stand to see this punk in office one more year.” You can always rely on Snoop Dogg to tell people like it is. But in his 2020 interview with Real 92.3’s Big Boy’s Neighborhood, the rapper claimed that he hadn’t been afforded the same treatment.

Hip-hop’s biggest weed advocate revealed that the reason he hadn’t previously voted wasn’t down to apathy, but rather, the mistaken belief that he wasn’t legally allowed to. Yes, the man born Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. told listeners that he’d been “brainwashed” into thinking that his criminal record restricted his voting rights (he was convicted of a felony drug charge in 1990 and has had multiple run-ins with the law ever since).

However, the then-48-year-old Snoop stated that his “record’s been expunged,” and he now hopes to make up for lost time and lead by example. He told Big Boy, “We got to make a difference, I can’t talk about it and not be about it. I can’t tell you to do it and then don’t go do it … If I tell you to do something, I done done it already.” 

George Hamilton feels actors shouldn't get involved with politics

You’d be hard-pressed to find a celebrity who’s been as politically inactive for as long as George Hamilton. In a 2019 interview just short of his 80th birthday, the famously tanned actor revealed that voting — an activity widely viewed as a civic duty — was a concept as alien to him as pale skin.

The Tinseltown legend, who portrayed a former White House staffer in the 2016 drama The Congressman, told The Hollywood Reporter that he’s always steered clear of the voting booth. In fact, he seemed more concerned with Donald Trump’s tanning methods (“I think he slops bronzer on and hopes it’ll last till the evening”) than his policies.

Hamilton also believes that his fellow showbiz types should refrain from getting political, too. He said, “They’re given an unusual amount of credibility. A lot of young actors do it and they shouldn’t. The political (people) are happy to use your persona. I think it’s unfair to the voter.”

Keith Olbermann withholds his vote for journalism — or something

It’s pretty clear what side of the political fence Keith Olbermann stands on. The sports correspondent-turned-political commentator hosted a web series focused entirely on criticizing the 45th U.S. president, and in 2020, he published a book with the title Trump Is F***ing Crazy (This Is Not A Joke).

Impartiality wouldn’t appear to be one of Olbermann’s strong points and yet that’s the exact reason he gives for refusing to cast his electoral vote. Appearing on The View in 2008, the former ESPN anchor surprised the likes of Barbara Walters and Joy Behar when he revealed that he doesn’t vote as a means of protecting what HuffPost described as his “journalistic objectivity.” Olbermann explained to the panel. “It’s a symbolic gesture.”

However, in a blatant case of “do as I say, not as I do,” Olbermann later implored Americans to vote against the tycoon in the 2016 presidential election. “Voting for Donald Trump is like not getting the car you want, so you instead take the car you have — and you drive it into a wall. While you are in it. While your family is in it. While your country is in it.” This was just one of several potshots the commentator made in a GQ piece against the man whose Manhattan building he once resided in.

Kendrick Lamar doesn't believe in voting

Kendrick Lamar veered into conspiracy theory territory when he was asked about his voting intentions in 2012. The chart-topping rapper, hailed by many as the voice of his generation, told TruthisScaryTV, “I don’t do no voting. … I will keep it straight up real with you. I don’t believe in none of the s**t that’s going on in the world … When I say the president can’t even control the world, then you definitely know there’s something else out there pushing the buttons.”

It’s not clear whether Lamar still kept his tin foil hat on for the 2016 presidential election. But its result appears to have inspired the Grammy winner to take a more active role in the state of the nation. In 2019, he told i-D that Trump’s rise to power has built “the fire for [him] to keep pushing as hard as [he] want[s] to push.”

Lamar also revealed that a White House meeting with Barack Obama made him realize that he can be a force for change. He added, “Just him being in office sparks the idea that us as a people, we can do anything that we want to do. And we have smarts and the brains and the intelligence to do it.”

Brexit left Paul McCartney baffled

Of course, it’s not just American celebs that become disillusioned with everything political. Paul McCartney freely admitted that the whole issue of Brexit left him so baffled that he couldn’t make up his mind either way. The former Beatle wasn’t even in the UK at the time the 2016 referendum took place, but he told The Washington Post that even if he hadn’t been on tour, he would have refrained from voting. He said, “I was so confused. You were hearing what seemed to be good arguments on both sides.”

McCartney did eventually decide on which way to lean, albeit three years too late. Speaking to BBC News, the Fab Four legend reiterated that he “didn’t see anybody saying anything sensible enough” at the time but that he now believes the whole process was “probably a mistake.”

And unlike many of his fellow boomers, the Liverpudlian has no desire to live in the past. He added, “What put me off was that I was meeting a lot of older people, kind of pretty much my generation. And they were going, ‘All right Paul — it’s going to be like it was in the old days, we’re going to go back.’ And it was like, ‘Yeah? Oh, I’m not sure about that.’ And that attitude was very prevalent.”

Russell Brand was too disenchanted to vote for a long time

The loquacious, garrulous and periphrastic Russell Brand has never been afraid to wax lyrically about his political leanings. The wild-haired comedian has addressed everything from climate change to corporate capitalism in various web series, documentaries and even a book in which he imagined overthrowing the entire British political system.

But he came under fire in 2013 when he revealed in a piece he wrote for political magazine The New Statesman, “I have never voted.” He continued, “Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites.”

The former Mr. Katy Perry also implored the British electorate to join him in his revolution and eschew any form of voting. However, just two years later Brand underwent an unlikely change of heart. Indeed, following an interview on his YouTube channel with Labour leader Ed Miliband, the funnyman started to strongly advocate the importance of voting in order to defeat the Conservative government. However, this last-minute U-turn came too late for Brand himself — he wasn’t registered to vote and so he could do nothing but watch his new political BFF slump to an embarrassing defeat.

Morrissey's vote is too 'precious' to use frequently

Morrissey doesn’t appear to have stopped shouting about his political views from the rooftops since he emerged as the gladioli-waving frontman of indie favorites The Smiths in the mid-1980s. So it might come as a surprise that the provocative cult hero has never stepped foot inside a voting booth.

In an 2017 interview with The Times, the famously militant vegan claimed that he was “nonpolitical.” He said, “I’ve never voted in my life … I’m not interested in being part of anything. I don’t see a party that speaks to me and I haven’t ever. My vote is very precious. I won’t use it just to get rid of somebody I don’t like because they’re all absolutely the same.”

Of course, that didn’t stop the Mancunian from offering his opinion on the issue that was dominating the British political landscape at the time, Brexit. He added, “I thought it was a fascinating strike for democracy, because the people said the opposite to Westminster, and that was extraordinary. … The unfortunate thing is that politicians only speak to other politicians. They don’t speak to the people, so on that day their bubble burst.”

Current politicians haven't earned Noel Gallagher's vote

In 1997, Noel Gallagher was pictured attending a 10 Downing Street party in the company of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. At the time, the remarkable moment was possibly the most effective bridge across the divide between pop music and the British establishment. However, you’re unlikely to see the former Oasis guitarist rubbing shoulders with the political elite again any time soon.

In a 2019 interview with BBC’s The One Show (via Metro), the elder Gallagher brother admitted that he hadn’t voted in a general election since Blair retired from office 12 years previously. He said, “I chose not to vote. I had the Conservative Party at my house and when I opened the door, the guy almost ran up the street. … None of them appeal to me. Boris doesn’t, Corbyn doesn’t, my vote is not to vote.”

In stark contrast, younger sibling Liam Gallagher had previously proudly declared which party he was throwing his support behind in a chat with the Daily Mirror. He said, “I’m voting for the Green Party: the rest of them are all selfish and clueless. … It’s the only party that makes sense.”

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