Marianne Williamson, the self-described “bitch for God” who comes off like a cross between a becrystaled Goop disciple from Monterey and the deranged dance mom in Donnie Darko, is surging since her mystifying performance at the first Democratic debate.
The spiritual guru-cum-presidential candidate, who loves Avatar way more than anyone should, is hosting trippy fundraisers in Beverly Hills filled with guests dressed as aliens. She’s inspired a rash of Rabelaisian tweets and head-scratching op-eds, including a doozy from the Washington Post titled “Marianne Williamson is the only true anti-Trump,” with the author opining that the bestselling author of A Return to Love possesses many of candidate Trump’s so-called “strengths,” including: “no political relationships yoking her to an ossified party consensus, no policy experience.” And most glaringly, a recent survey had her polling ahead of Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand in New Hampshire.
That “no policy experience” is considered a political virtue by some in the pundit class shows just how much Trumpism has scrambled the brain. Williamson’s greater similarity to our reality-TV president is that she too is a celebrity grifter with pals in high places. She is a longtime Friend of Oprah, having appeared on her show a number of times since the ‘90s. Despite their 15-year age gap, she served as the family-designated roommate to a 17-year-old aspiring actress by the name of Laura Dern in the ‘80s. And in 1991, she officiated Elizabeth Taylor’s eighth and final wedding at Michael Jackson’s alleged child rape factory. If all that weren’t enough, when Williamson first ran for public office in 2014, competing as an independent to represent California’s 33rd congressional district, she was endorsed by the likes of Eva Longoria, Nicole Richie, Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian (she flopped in fourth place after spending nearly $2 million on her campaign).
And—wouldn’t you know?—it looks like Hollywood didn’t learn its lesson.
Late Tuesday, actress Alyssa Milano, who has rebranded as a political activist in recent years (replete with a CNN column and podcast), tweeted that she would be attending Williamson’s fundraiser in Beverly Hills. “I’m going to my first fundraiser of the election cycle and it’s for-@marwilliamson. I know. I know. But she’s the only candidate talking about the collective, soulful ache of the nation & I think that’s an important discussion to have.” Milano, who also teased Williamson’s appearance on an upcoming episode of her podcast, was promptly ratioed, with critics upbraiding the Charmed star for boosting a candidate with a long history of espousing dangerous anti-science views.
Milano isn’t the only Hollywoodite supporting Williamson either. Donation records compiled by ProPublica for the 2020 election cycle revealed that Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges donated $1,000 to Williamson on two occasions. She also received sizeable donations from musician Dave Navarro, film execs Bill Pohlad and James Cummings, film producer Rhonda Eiffe, and author Deepak Chopra.
The Hollywood community’s support of Williamson reinforces every negative stereotype about Tinseltown and its inhabitants—that they are “out of touch,” “living in a bubble,” and blissfully unaware of the problems facing everyday Americans. I’ve long pushed back on such hasty generalizations, given how for every A-list star who takes a political misstep there are thousands of folks—from PAs to caterers to electricians to security personnel—attuned to the wants and needs of the working class. But this isn’t a good look.
“It is mind-blowing to me that people are taking her seriously as a candidate,” said Dr. Daniel Summers, a pediatrician and Slate columnist. “I’m aware that she’s issued a statement denying that she’s anti-vaccine or opposed to other evidence-based medical treatments, but her past statements speak for themselves.”
Those past anti-vaxx statements date back decades, and include recent statements Williamson made to supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire, wherein she branded vaccine mandates “draconian” and “Orwellian,” while arguing: “To me, it’s no different than the abortion debate. The U.S. government doesn’t tell any citizen, in my book, what they have to do with their body or their child.” (Vaccines are settled science.)
Williamson has also questioned the validity and treatment of depression, calling the diagnosis of “clinical depression” a “scam” and arguing that “there is an art to navigating depression and the spiritual principles [in her book] lead us there.” She’s also claimed in her book A Course in Weight Loss that obesity can be conquered through love and “surrendering your weight to God.”
And, well, I’m not even sure what to make of this:
Despite her earth-mother demeanor and “girlfriend, you are so on” histrionics, Williamson’s views are harmful and regressive; a cynical ploy to hawk more of her self-help books and preach her “conquering through love” gospel. That she made it anywhere near the presidential debate stage is an embarrassment to the Democratic Party.
Republicans have taken notice, too, with many donating to Williamson’s campaign in an effort to keep her on the Democratic debate stage, thereby diminishing its overall credibility.
“In the days following the debates people, myself included, made a lot of sport at some of her old tweets, but the truth isn’t funny at all,” said Dr. Summers. “Discouraging parents from putting their children on medications that they may need for mental illness, for example, could keep kids from treatments that could truly help them, and it’s grossly irresponsible to say some of the things that are still easy to find in her Twitter history. Nobody should be supporting her as a candidate because it’s bad enough having one anti-science blowhard currently occupying the Oval Office.”