US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump does a sound check on the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on July 21, 2016.
Donald Trump will need to deliver the speech of his life Thursday, outlining his vision for America and seeking to salvage a fractious Republican convention after his chief rival declined to endorse him in his run for the presidency.
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump does a sound check on the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on July 21, 2016. Donald Trump will need to deliver the speech of his life Thursday, outlining his vision for America and seeking to salvage a fractious Republican convention after his chief rival declined to endorse him in his run for the presidency.
Now playing
02:28
Source: Trump inauguration lacks A-list luster
Fox News/Twitter
Now playing
01:33
ADL wants Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson over racist comments
CNN
Now playing
02:36
The truth behind Covid-19 vaccines for sale on the dark web
Now playing
04:22
Levi's CEO has message for Mitch McConnell
Now playing
01:54
'You think I'm racist': Former Fox News host storms off camera
Korie Robertson and Willie Robertson of the reality series "Duck Dynasty" attend the Capitol File 58th Presidential Inauguration Reception at Fiola Mare on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Paul Morigi/Getty Images
Korie Robertson and Willie Robertson of the reality series "Duck Dynasty" attend the Capitol File 58th Presidential Inauguration Reception at Fiola Mare on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
01:46
'Duck Dynasty' stars discuss raising biracial son on new show
FOX/"The Masked Singer"
Now playing
01:24
Nick Cannon makes big splash in 'Masked Singer' return
The Drew Barrymore Show/YouTube
Now playing
01:26
'Mom' star speaks out about not having kids in real life
Heinz ketchup packets are shown in New York on Monday, August 22, 2005. H.J. Heinz Co., the world's biggest ketchup maker, said first-quarter profit fell 19 percent on expenses to cut jobs and sell businesses.  (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Heinz ketchup packets are shown in New York on Monday, August 22, 2005. H.J. Heinz Co., the world's biggest ketchup maker, said first-quarter profit fell 19 percent on expenses to cut jobs and sell businesses. (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:53
Restaurants face a nationwide ketchup packet shortage
Camerota Berman both
CNN
Camerota Berman both
Now playing
02:33
CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota gets surprise tribute from co-anchor
Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons delivers remarks on the US economy at the New York State Bar Association meetings in New York, January 28, 2009. Troubled US banking giant Citigroup last week named Parsons as its new chairman, the longtime top executive at media giant Time Warner, to steer it through its most challenging period.  AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons delivers remarks on the US economy at the New York State Bar Association meetings in New York, January 28, 2009. Troubled US banking giant Citigroup last week named Parsons as its new chairman, the longtime top executive at media giant Time Warner, to steer it through its most challenging period. AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:47
Dick Parsons: Georgia law is a bald-faced attempt to suppress Black vote
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture
Now playing
02:54
'Godzilla vs. Kong' is a pandemic box office hit
Now playing
01:30
5 ways to cut your plastic waste
CNN/Getty Images
Now playing
04:40
Stelter: After elevating Gaetz, Fox News barely covering scandal
NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
Now playing
01:08
See NASA spacecraft successfully land on an asteroid
Now playing
06:51
Alisyn Camerota's kids wish her good luck in new role on CNN

Story highlights

Dean Obeidallah says Bill O'Reilly is wrong when he suggests that entertainment execs are pressuring celebrities not to take part

Problem for Trump's inaugural is that his campaign trafficked in hate, Obeidallah writes

Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM’s radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @TheDeansreport. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN) —  

Donald Trump wants yuge celebrities to perform at his presidential inaugural events next month. In fact, Trump’s former campaign manager and now adviser Kellyanne Conway even made a plea on national TV a few weeks ago, asking Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars to call her to be part of the festivities. This week it was announced that the Radio City Rockettes will perform (though there are reports some are reluctant).

As of now, none of the big name A-list celebrities are biting. And that’s a great thing.

Celebrities shouldn’t lend their fame to normalize or validate Trump’s history of racism, bigotry and sexism. And by being a part of his inauguration they would be doing just that.

They would be saying it’s OK Trump demonized Latinos, Muslims and immigrants. They would be telling us they are cool with his sexist remarks and mocking of a disabled reporter. And that they are not disgusted by Trump bragging in the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape about his sexually assaulting women and then publicly shaming the victims of his alleged sexual misconduct who had the courage to come forward.

But for some on the right, like Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, these celebrities aren’t saying no to Trump’s inauguration because they are personally repulsed by Trump’s history of hate. Rather, as O’Reilly claimed on his show Wednesday night, the real reason celebrities aren’t signing on to the Trump inaugural festivities is because “some very powerful entertainment people in America do not want the Trump inauguration to be a star-studded event.”

O’Reilly even alleged that “veiled threats” have been made and that performers are “scared that they will lose work if they show up.”

To O’Reilly, this is just another example of how progressives refuse to accept a Republican president. But O’Reilly is dead wrong.

This is neither a Democratic versus Republican nor conservative versus liberal issue. It’s specific to Trump. He’s not a mainstream Republican who some on the left have policy disagreements with on key issues. Rather, Trump is unique – he’s a person whose campaign trafficked in hate.

In fact, when Republican George W. Bush was inaugurated president in 2001, he didn’t have a problem securing stars to be a part of his inaugural event. Rather, a bevy of A-list stars were a part of his inaugural festivities, including Destiny’s Child – which at the time included Beyoncé – as well as other big names of the day, including Ricky Martin, Jessica Simpson and country stars like Clint Black and Lyle Lovett.

True, President Obama had bigger names at his 2009 inaugural events, such as U2, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder, but Bush’s list was still impressive.

And in 2005, Bush’s second inaugural attracted a racially diverse list of well-known celebrities, including Gloria Estefan, Kelsey Grammer and 2003 “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard.

The difference between Bush and Trump is clear: Bush didn’t run a campaign that demonized minorities and women. Trump did.

And O’Reilly’s claim that “powerful entertainment people” are preventing celebrities from being a part of the Trump festivities is like so much of what Fox News broadcasts in prime time: fact-free. O’Reilly offered zero evidence to support his claim that some nefarious groups of Hollywood executives are threatening celebrities to stay away from Trump’s inauguration.

If conservatives truly were being blacklisted by “powerful entertainment people” then why do we see Clint Eastwood, Jon Voight, Vince Vaughn, Gary Sinise, and a long list of other outspoken conservatives working successfully in Hollywood. It’s also interesting that none of these people were at the Republican National Convention this year, instead we saw only the likes of Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato Jr.

Get our free weekly newsletter

And from a business point of view, keep in mind Trump received almost 63 million votes, that’s a lot of people to sell your wares to if you saddle up to Team Trump. Yet, still many celebrities are saying no to Trump despite the potential economic upside.

Just so it’s clear, I’m not nor is anyone to my knowledge calling for celebrities to boycott Trump’s inaugural events. It should be a decision based on the conscience of each individual.

But to those stars who say no to Trump, many Americans commend you for refusing to be a part of festivities to honor a man who utilized hate to elevate himself to the highest office in the land.