Warner Todd Huston's Feb. 22 NewsBusters post is a screed against a nebulous "Hollywood," asserting that while "self-aggrandizing denizens of Hollywood constantly scold Americans over a lack of national healthcare ... Hollywood is closing its nearly 90-year-old Motion Picture Fund hospital and accompanying long-term living facilities for aging actors."
But "Hollywood" is not closing the facilities -- not that Huston bothers to define what he means by "Hollywood." The facilities are operated by the Motion Picture & Television Fund, "a charitable organization that offers assistance and care to employees of the entertainment industry."
Huston's screed continues, attacking actors who purportedly are not helping the fund:
Yes, with the millions upon millions of dollars in which Hollywood is awash, they are dumping their own healthcare facilities. So, with the many millions with which they could easily fund it laying untapped, why exactly should everyone else feel that the idea is as important as these actors so commonly claim it is if they even refuse pay the bills for their own kind?
Is George Clooney so hurting for cash that he can’t pay a little to the healthcare fund? Is Marlo Thomas in the poor house? Is Ed Asner or Mike Farrell standing in a bread line somewhere?
Again, these self-important Hollywood types have nearly unlimited amounts of cash, yet they can't adequately fund a "free" healthcare system for their own fellows?
Huston offer no evidence whatsoever that these particular celebrities have not donated to the Motion Picture & Television Fund. The fund operates numerous fund-raising events, including a golf tournament hosted by Michael Douglas and a pre-Academy Awards event with numerous celebrities as hosts.
Further, the MPTF hospital is not a full-service facility but, rather, an acute-care facility that loses money. As the MPTF points out, "Outpatient healthcare, social services, financial assistance, childcare and retirement living continues to be available to over 300,000 members of the California entertainment industry." It's merely outsourcing services; we thought Huston was a big fan of outsourcing.
Further, in calling out Marlo Thomas, Huston ignores the fact that she has a long history of philanthropy for the St. Jude Children's Hospital, founded by her father, Danny Thomas.
Given Huston's harsh tone, it sounds like somebody's jealous they didn't get an Oscar.