Barrymore became admired again on Sunday when she decided to halt production on her show, offering America a ‘teachable moment’ about listening to critics and acknowledging when she’s wrong
Drew Barrymore, the lovably quirky and phenomenally resilient Hollywood star, became one of the most mocked and disparaged women in America for a week.
As the Hollywood writers’ strike entered its fourth month, Barrymore insisted that production on her eponymous daytime talk show would resume. In response to the backlash, the former child actor-turned “Charlie’s Angels” power player delivered an emotional, rambling statement that was not the convincing explanation she intended but a display of “Hollywood royalty” at its most privileged and clueless, according to Puck’s Mathew Belloni, exposing her to even more vitriol, derisive memes, and accusations of being a scab.
But Barrymore gained new admirers on Sunday when she announced that she would postpone the return of her show until the Writers Guild of America strike was resolved. “I have listened to everyone,” she said in an Instagram statement. She added, “I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt.”
With that decision, many of the writers, pundits, and celebrities who had chastised her last week for “undermining union solidarity,” including Rosie O’Donnell and Bradley Whitford, welcomed her “return to the fight.” They also dismissed critics who claimed that Barrymore only paused her show because she knew the negative publicity was destroying her brand. Last week, some of her harshest critics took to social media on Sunday and Monday to thank her for halting production. They also praised her for being open to listening and changing her mind.
“Credit to Ms. Barrymore for thinking this through and coming out on the right side,” “The Wire” creator David Simon said on X. When someone objected that Barrymore “does not need to be applauded for doing the right thing,” Simon responded, “It’s difficult to change your mind and deeds in public.” I welcome anyone who does it and rejoins our ranks. That is how organized labor operates and expands.”
Actor John Carroll Lynch said on X that Barrymore’s willingness to listen and change her mind “moved” him. “This is a teachable moment,” Lynch declared.
Lon Harris, another writer, agreed, praising Barrymore’s “strength of character.” “Honestly, admitting you were wrong, apologizing, and publicly reversing public course is TOUGH, and Drew Barrymore deserves credit for getting there,” Harris wrote. If studio executives had her character, the strike would be over.”
Writer Luke Barrett went on to say that Barrymore has set a good example in an industry that is often driven by money, ego, and self-interest. “People responding to Drew Barrymore making the right decision with’she didn’t do it until she got blowback’ are what’s wrong with our country,” he says. “You make the wrong call, you listen, and you correct.”
Barrett also noted that Barrymore’s decision to suspend her show had a knock-on effect, with other talk shows, including “The Talk” and Jennifer Hudson’s show, reversing their plans to resume production. Even Bill Maher, the contrarian who delights in undermining progressive movements, reconsidered his decision last week to resume taping his HBO show, “Real Time With Bill Maher.” “I’m going to postpone the return of ‘Real Time’ for the time being, and hope (both sides) can finally get it down,” he said.
Barrett said that with Barrymore “listening to criticism and doing the right thing,” it’s “almost as if we should create a society that encourages people to listen and change.” It’s almost as if we should be a forgiving society.”
“The West Wing” star Whitford explained why Barrymore’s change of heart was significant. On social media, he stated that continuing her show would have helped the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which “is relying on a cruel strategy of attrition to break us by inflicting maximum financial pain on our community, city, and state.”
Many writers celebrated their successful effort to put pressure on Barrymore to change her ways on social media, and there has to be some truth to the idea that her brand could have been irreparably harmed if writers and actors continued to label her a scab.
Meredith Blake, a Los Angeles Times entertainment writer, explained over the weekend how “Barrymore’s entire brand is about authenticity, kindness.” She was born into dysfunctional showbiz royalty, but she was not a Hollywood creature.”
Barrymore was still “cherished” because she refused to let “the ruthlessness of the industry turn her into another showbiz phony.” However, her disastrous public statements justifying the resumption of her show — which many said could have benefited from a professional writer’s touch — harmed “much of the goodwill she stockpiled over more than four decades in the business,” according to Blake.
“Fans were left to wonder whether America’s adorkable sweetheart was just doing a little bit the whole time,” Blake added.
Fans can now believe that Barrymore is truly sincere about wanting to do good in the world, while writer Joe Henderson said on X that her change of heart was “pretty darn cool” that it was encouraging others to remain in solidarity with the WGA.