There was an effort to recall progressive DA George Gascon last year but it failed to gather the more than 500,000 signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot. But back in December the group behind the first effort announced it would be trying again. And over the last week, Los Angeles magazine has reported the new effort is garnering a lot more support, both from law enforcement unions and some Hollywood bigwigs.
On Monday, a pair of major law-enforcement unions took a big step toward boosting the Recall Gascón campaign. The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, representing 8,000 L.A. county-sworn sheriff’s deputies, announced it is joining the effort. Additionally, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, which represents about 800 of Gascón’s own prosecutors, announced it will hold a membership vote on whether to endorse the recall of their own boss.
Neither union endorsed the previous recall effort.
ALADS, which donated $1.3 million with the aim to defeat Gascón in the 2020 race —the largest amount contributed by any single group—slammed the DA in a statement, saying the 67-year-old criminal-justice reformer “emboldens criminal behavior and adds to the continued chaos and lawlessness.”
The Association of Deputy District Attorneys is set to meet next Wednesday to vote on the matter. They invited Gascon to attend the meeting and defend his policies but yesterday he declined their invitation:
“The issues raised in the invitational letter appear political and have nothing to do with improving the working conditions of the individuals your board represents,” Gascón said in the letter which was provided to reporters.
Given his refusal, their decision to endorse the recall effort has only become more likely than it already was. Of course police unions are often pretty conservative so it’s not really a big surprise to see them join the effort. What is more surprising, to me at least, is that some Hollywood power players, all Democrats, are also donating to support the recall:
The list of early contributors to the campaign to oust Gascón, obtained exclusively by Los Angeles and not yet released to the public, includes Orion Pictures co-founder Mike Medavoy and his wife, socialite Irene Meadavoy; supermarket magnate and President Clinton confidant Ron Burkle; President Biden’s pick for ambassador to Norway, Holmby Hills media-real-estate billionaire Marc Nathanson; Hillary Clinton bundler and Pacific Palisades real-estate baron Jordan Kaplan; and Malibu-based developer of malls and condos Richard Weintraub and his wife Liane.
Other prominent donors to the recall from the entertainment community include George Clooney’s long-time producing partner, Grant Heslov, and his wife Lysa; former 20th Century Fox exec and producer, Jonathan Sheinberg, son of film industry titan Sidney Sheinberg; Cynthia Sikes Yorkin, widow of All in the Family co-creator Bud Yorkin; and Lauren King, widow of the late Richard King of King World Productions, syndicator of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!.
The story cites the recent death of 81-year-old Jaqueline Avant, the wife of a famous music producer who was murdered in her home by a repeat offender, as the last straw for a lot of wealthy people in Hollywood. The suspect in Avant’s murder was arrested after another robbery in which he shot himself in the foot. Los Angeles reports that while opponents of Gascon are stepping up, the big name Hollywood supporters of his reforms seem to have gone quiet:
Gascón donors and star supporters from Hollywood—such as actress Susan Sarandon, former Disney chief Michael Eisner, and Netflix founder Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quinlan, and Queen of Calabasas-turned criminal-justice-reformer Kim Kardashian —have yet to publicly acknowledge their positions on the recall. “Nobody wants to be out front on this,” says a well-placed industry insider.
There’s a more immediate connection between Netflix, Gascon and the murder of Jaqueline Avant, one which ought to lead to some second thoughts about the wisdom of Gascon’s reforms:
The victim’s daughter, Nicole Avant, is married to Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos. Both Sarandos and his wife, Nicole, as well as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings contributed heavily to Gascon’s election campaign.
Other Hollywood stars are already having second thoughts:
Celebrity supporters like boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard and entertainment news host Carly Steele have donated to the recall, and last Wednesday, actress Rosanna Arquette posted to her Twitter page an Instagram post by former Beverly Hills mayor Lili Bosse that stated: “I am ALL IN. Recall DA George Gascón.”
As one studio executive told LA Magazine, “People can be liberal in ideology but they don’t want crime in their city.”