Pop quiz (and bonus points if reading those words made you think of Tamia): When is the last time Antonio Sabato Jr. was poppin’?
Most will likely answer the early to mid-1990s, when Sabato gained attention as a Calvin Klein underwear model and appeared in the legendary Janet Jackson video for her single “Love Will Never Do (Without You).” Sabato seized upon that buzz and used it to transition into acting, appearing on daytime soaps like General Hospital along with nighttime melodramas like my beloved Melrose Place (the OG version reigns supreme). After that, things got a lil’ fuzzy for most of us.
However, according to Sabato’s IMDb page, the man has maintained a career. In the last decade, Sabato has turned to the medium that best suits his talents as a pretty man with so-so at best talents as a thespian: reality television. Did I watch VH1’s My Antonio, which apparently was his stab at being Flavor Flav? No, but good for him securing a check in this stagnant economy.
Sadly, Sabato doesn’t see it that way. In a recent interview, the model-actor-Italian Flavor Flav complained that he’s been blacklisted in Hollywood because of his support for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Stop laughing. OK, keep laughing. Who am I to deny anyone the kind of hilarity these sort of delusional statements engender?
Speaking with Variety, Sabato explains: “I’ve had fantastic directors who have said officially to my agents and managers they will never hire me again. They will never even see me for projects. That’s unfair. It’s just like communism.”
That’s actually nothing like communism, but like most Trump supporters, Sabato is in a committed relationship with hyperbole. “The reality is, if you’re associated with the Republican Party, the casting directors and producers already blacklist you based on that,” Sabato later added. “I know people that just showed up, they didn’t speak—and they are not getting work because of it.”
One assumes that Sabato is referring to other acting phenoms like Stacey Dash, who made similar claims a month prior. “My acting opportunities have ceased because of my political beliefs. I’m being persecuted in Hollywood. I’ve been blacklisted,” the actress and Fox News political commentator complained.
Time for another pop quiz: When is the last time Stacey Dash was a big deal beyond her incredibly asinine statements made over at Roger Ailes’ former house of horror?
Dash hasn’t been poppin’ since LisaRaye allegedly tried to pop her in the mouth on the set of Single Ladies. LisaRaye would later acknowledge that she had Dash removed from the show, but it had nothing to do with her being a black Republican. Sure, that is often synonymous with being a damn fool, but in this instance, it was pure coincidence.
I feel sorry for anyone looking for work, but I’m not a fan of lending sympathy to marginally talented people who make a habit of saying absurd, nonsensical and often vile statements, and then act as though that does not come with consequence.
In Sabato’s case, shortly after delivering a speech at this year’s Republican National Convention, he told an interviewer that he “absolutely” believes President Barack Obama is Muslim (not that there is anything wrong with being Muslim).
"I believe that he's on the other side … the Middle East," Sabato also told ABC News. "He's with the bad guys." As for Dash, well, there’s a very long list of unfortunate political statements.
For all this political chatter about how “liberal” Hollywood is, ask anyone nonwhite, straight and male how progressive that industry truly is. Even if that were the case, again, every choice has a consequence. It’s funny that neither Sabato nor Dash acknowledges that their willingness to say such buffoonish things is what secures them political platforms for which they are largely unequipped to handle—all because they have such a smidgen of fame.
If they both feel that persecuted, I’d advise the likes of Sabato and Dash to hit up fellow conservative Clint Eastwood for a job. Then again, he probably won’t answer their calls because it’s not as if either has been touted for his or her acting. Dash is perfect for Redbox movies, and Sabato … uh, his best work was of him in a pair of briefs.
Djimon Hounsou also appeared with Sabato in that old Janet video. His acting career has superseded Sabato’s and Dash’s because of skill. They can try to blame their conservatism all they want, but the reality is, the fact that their agents aren't getting calls returned can’t solely be blamed on being Republican. The truth is, neither has ever had the range.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.