Kelsey Grammer, beloved star of the hit sitcoms “Cheers” and “Frasier,” found himself in hot water after openly declaring his support for Donald Trump on a recent BBC Radio interview. What was intended to be a lighthearted chat about the revival of “Frasier” quickly turned political, leading to an abrupt ending enforced by network executives.
The interview, aired last Monday on BBC Radio 4’s popular “Today” show, started innocuously enough. Host Justin Webb engaged Grammer in cheerful banter about the actor’s return to his iconic role as psychiatrist Frasier Crane in Paramount+’s continuation of the classic series.
However, things took a serious turn when Webb brought up Grammer’s well-known backing of former president Donald Trump. Perhaps seeking to stir up some controversy to spice up the segment, Webb pointedly asked the actor, “You are still a Trump supporter, aren’t you?”
Grammer calmly replied, “I am, and I’ll let that be the end of it.” But much to his chagrin, that was NOT the end of it.
In a stunning move, Paramount+ public relations representatives monitoring the live interview hastily demanded that it be terminated, clearly dismayed at their star openly professing his allegiance to the controversial former commander-in-chief.
Despite Grammer feeling perfectly fine elaborating further on his political stance, the network execs clearly felt that any association between their hot new streaming revival and Trump would be ratings poison. So they pulled the plug, leaving Webb to awkwardly wrap up the segment and Grammer’s PR team scrambling to do damage control.
The irony is that Grammer has never been shy about his conservative political beliefs. An outspoken Republican, he delivered an impassioned speech at the 1996 GOP convention and has consistently backed candidates on the right.
However, his steadfast support of Trump, even in the wake of the Capitol insurrection and the former president’s attempts to falsely assert he beat Joe Biden, has raised more eyebrows. Especially among the liberal Hollywood elite that Paramount+ was no doubt hoping to court with their high-profile “Frasier” reboot.
So when Grammer reaffirmed his allegiance to Trump in such a public forum, the network heads panicked. Despite being 100% willing to elaborate on his opinions, they clearly feared that him doubling down would spark waves of boycotts and backlash that could threaten their $50 million revival.
It seems absurd that an actor should be strongarmed into silence simply for answering a question about his personal politics. But such is the hyper-partisan environment we now inhabit, where figures even HINTING at approving of the “wrong side” face instant cancellation.
For the 69-year-old Grammer, this is just the latest speedbump in a traumatic life journey filled with addiction, death, and failed relationships. The loss of his father and sister to murder. Years battling substance abuse. A nasty divorce with Real Housewife Camille Grammer.
Through it all, his iconic comedic performances as Frasier Crane have been a lifeline, earning him four Emmys. One can only hope this ill-advised attempt to stifle his free speech won’t derail Grammer’s triumphant return to TV.
At the end of the day, celebrities have a right to their opinions, no matter how unpopular. If Paramount+ truly believes in diversity, they should stand by their talent rather than peremptorily silencing voices they disagree with. Their actions speak louder than words when it comes to their supposed commitment to creative freedom.
This chilling demonstration of cancel culture in action makes one wonder – would they have pulled the plug if Grammer voiced support for Biden or a progressive cause? Their transparent double standard betrays their claims of championing inclusion.
It seems Dr. Frasier Crane still has a thing or two to teach his employers – maybe they should hire HIM as a corporate therapist! If nothing else, this fiasco proves that 25 years later, Kelsey Grammer can still stir passions on both sides of the political aisle.