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The New York Times podcast “Sway” published an interview Monday with Tony Kushner, a leftist screenwriter and playwright, where he accused Republicans of fantasizing about “exclusive control” of America by “straight white men.”
Podcast host Kara Swisher identified herself as “like a lot of gay people who came of age during the AIDS crisis,” but said now she feels like she’s living in “a deja vu nightmare” where “hard-won” progress on gay rights “seems at risk.”
She wanted to talk to Kushner, whose Tony Award-winning play “Angels in America” “changed the entire conversation around AIDS and around the gay community,” to ask him “how far the nation has come or hasn’t” since the play was originally staged in 1991.
“Change is happening. People are progressing. You can’t reverse the flow of history,” Kushner said. “The White, straight, theocratic right is so determined to return the country to some fantasy of exclusive control by White straight men.”
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Kushner had dire warnings about these Republican fantasies about a White supremacist society. “The price of their insistence on attempting to reverse the flow of history is human lives,” he claimed.
Kushner called Floridians who support Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature’s law protecting parental rights in education “terrible people”, saying, “What they’re really after is [banning] same-sex marriage and [gay] adoption.”
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Kushner also dismissed concerns about critical race theory, asserting, “Critical race theory nonsense from the right is desperation.”
He said that attempts to defeat Critical Race Theory only “works if we let it.”
“Yes, it will absolutely work if we start to cede ground. If the Democratic Party listens to too many people saying ‘Oh we have to now become more centrist.’ By which they mean don’t talk about black people anymore. Don’t talk about LGBT rights. Don’t talk about trans people anymore.”
He also noted, “Biden’s campaign was a tremendously progressive campaign. It took a lot of work to make him adhere to that and I think that we need to keep going in that direction.”
Kushner alleged that there is an “enormous problem” with racism in the entertainment industry, claiming that he as a Jewish man has advantages over others.
“There is an enormous problem with equality of opportunity for screenwriters of color, for women, for trans people. It’s much easier for a Jewish guy like me to get work than it is for a Puerto Rican man or woman. But that problem is a problem with economics, and a problem of employment practices, and a problem of determination to make a more diverse and representative industry,” Kushner said.
In the closing minutes of the podcast, Kushner, no relation to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, said he is working on a play about former President Trump and his family.
He echoed frequently employed talking points that Trump and his advisers are a threat to democracy, “These are bottom feeders who devote enormous amounts of time and some intelligence and vast resources to finding all the weak spots in American democracy.”
“In a time like that democracy is thrown up into a crisis,” he said.
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Kushner was awarded the National Medal of Arts award by President Obama.
He previously defended the 2017 production of “Julius Caesar” that depicted the assassination of President Trump.
“It’s an upsetting play, but if there’s a production of ‘Julius Caesar’ that doesn’t upset you, you’re sitting through a very bad production,” Kushner told The New York Times at the time.
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