Not yet 72 hours into Donald Trump’s victory, and already the finest promises of the campaign are slipping away. Namely, the celebrities #WithHer who had vowed to leave the US are now backing down. As if Americans haven’t been through enough, it seems they’re stuck with Amy Schumer for another four years.
‘The interview where I said I would move was in London and was said in jest,’ Schumer snapped on Instagram, referring to her September chat with Newsnight in which she floated a relocation to Spain. Ditto Samuel L. Jackson, who was quick to disavow his earlier declaration on a late-night sketch show that he would move to South Africa if Trump won. On Thursday, he tweeted, ‘When you learn the difference between My Actual Opinion & A Kimmel Skit… Maybe we can talk.’
Al Sharpton was on hand to explain these reversals, himself having promised last year to get ‘my ticket out of here if he wins’. Speaking to Hollywood-gossip site TMZ this week, Sharpton clarified: ‘All of us said that. That was said in jest. We’re not going anywhere.’
Some jest. The punchline is that the shrillest voices in public life are generally the most insulated from the consequences of public unrest. Having inveighed so thoroughly against the supposed horrors that Trump will inflict, Schumer, Jackson and Sharpton have little to fear from what comes next. And, unlike the rest of America, they really can pick up and leave if they don’t like it. Jackson has already received a warm welcome from the CEO of Cape Town’s tourist agency, who told local press this week:
‘We took a slightly more lighthearted take on the offer from Samuel L. Jackson to move to South Africa if Clinton didn’t win the election, so we said we’re prepared to help facilitate him coming to live here and we think he would be comfortable because of the life we offer.’
Of course with an estimated net worth of $150 million, there's little doubt that Jackson will remain far more comfortable at his mansion in the San Fernando Valley than most anyone in Cape Town.
These celebs might forgive regular Americans who fail to see the humour - the ones who can’t afford holidays abroad, much less relocation fees and immigration lawyers, and who have spent the last year absorbing the message that a Trump win would mean apocalypse for America. Some of those Americans are now agitating through the streets of New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago - vandalising buildings, jamming traffic, and beating up suspected Trump voters. Lady Gaga and Cher have intermittently joined in the protests, before being whisked away in secure limos. Next time they pop by, they might consider informing the plebs that all the high-profile catastrophising was meant in jest.
Mr S must at least extend credit to Snoop Dogg, the only celebrity so far who appears ready to make good on his promises of leaving the country. On Wednesday the hip-hop mogul posted a photo of the Toronto skyline to Instagram, along with an entreaty to Canadian rapper Drake for ‘the hookup on some property’. Of course Mr Dogg already has ties north of the border, having signed an exclusive marijuana-branding deal earlier this year with Ontario-based cannabis producer Tweed. Still, in this time of acrimony and ill will, it’s nice to think we can still take Snoop Dogg at his word.