I’ve been a martial artist for more than three decades. Singing the praises of the benefits of the martial arts is second-nature to me: self-respect, self-confidence, self-defense. Just to name a few. And, I’ve enjoyed watching talented martial artists in movies over the years, even if the acting wasn’t always the best. The athleticism of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s jump spin crescent kick still makes me smile; Steven Seagal’s brand of aikido has always impressed me. Seagal’s fluidity of motion and speedy reaction-time prove his years of practice and dedication to his art.
More than not, I try to separate any celebrity’s personal life from his or her professional life. A good actor is a good actor, whether or not I agree with his political beliefs or how he handled his last divorce. However, I seem to have a threshold here. At some point, the celebrity’s personal life or beliefs become so abhorrent that it necessarily interferes with my view of his or her professional life. This is the case with Steven Seagal.
According to this Reuter’s article, Steven Seagal openly attended and supported an event in Russia with Vladimir Putin. The event was for Putin’s announcement that he intended to implement a nationalized fitness program that mimics Stalin’s Communist-era fitness requirements. The program will even hold “students’ performance under the system should be taken into account when universities consider applications.”
As a firm believer in individual rights as innate to all (reference US Bill of Rights), I reject Communism outright. Though, this situation is much more than a disagreement on political views. Stalin was arguably one of the most violent, evil leaders in the history of the world. The Russian gulags killed anywhere between 15 and 30 million people (1) — just stop and think for a second about that. The entire country of Greece doesn’t even have 15 million people. (2)
Putin’s nationalized fitness program is a piece of the Communist pie that Stalin served his unfortunate citizens more than a half-century ago. And when one piece of pie is in place, it won’t be long before the other pieces follow. In other words, as history has proven over and over again, once a country begins to treat citizens as a collective rather than as individuals, individuals eventually lose their liberties and even their lives.
And yet, Steven Seagal stood in support of Putin and his Communistic plan. I simply cannot in good conscience support someone who supports such vicious liberty-killing policies–whatever country it is in. While Steven Seagal has the right to support whatever political vision he wishes, I have the right to disagree. For this reason, I will no longer spend my hard-earned money buying Steven Seagal movies. I will no longer waste my valuable time viewing his movies that happen to be on television. I am boycotting Steven Seagal.