Disney & Remini: You Picked a Bad Time to Be Haters

One encouraging thing in today’s social media scene is the adoption of “empathy” as a mantra among young entrepreneurs.

It’s a rediscovery of a basic principle on how to be human.

A heart painted on a door

There are many speakers, bloggers and influencers that at least pay lip service to the idea that good things happen to those who consider not just financial ROI. But popular entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk (or “Gary Vee”) is unique in stressing that empathy is his number one recommendation to those trying to succeed in an ever-evolving Internet economy.

As he wrote in a recent blog:

Gary Vee
Gary Vaynerchuk. (Photo by JD Lasica/Flickr.com)

“Empathy. It’s one of the biggest things to which I attribute my success. What a lot of people don’t understand about empathy is that it’s not just about being caring, but it’s also the ability to understand people on a higher level. It has allowed me to easily create mutually beneficial relationships in both business and my personal life.”

That message resonates, and is propelling him and many of his subscribers and fans into considerable prosperity.

Compassion and empathy are the very human responses to an unprecedented rise in de-humanizing technological advances.

Out of touch. That’s how haters like Leah Remini can be described. Like all bigots and bullies, she is even proud of being so.

But while many influencers and motivational speakers are extolling the benefits of empathy and following Gary Vee’s lead, fallen-from-grace actress, Scientology apostate and religious antagonist Leah Remini continues to oppose the trend.

Her toxic brand of religious bigotry—currently bankrolled by, of all companies, Disney—is distinctly at odds not only with the current renaissance of compassion that has flowered, but with traditions of tolerance and understanding that have brought a civilizing influence to humankind since the Greeks.

Out of touch. That’s how haters like Leah Remini can be described. Like all bigots and bullies, she is even proud of being so.

That’s why Remini bragged about not vetting guests for her show, allowing any disgruntled (and criminal) former parishioner with an axe to grind—or any former (and disgraced) church executive with a thirst for cash—to come on board to slander and defame their former benefactors without prior fact-checking or due diligence.

That’s also probably why her ratings continue to plummet, and fewer and fewer episodes are on order of Remini’s nasty and malicious tabloid-worthy show. Viewers also must find her out of touch.

Perhaps, too, that’s what caused her latest sitcom to tank, the seemingly unsinkable Kevin Can Wait, which teamed her again with popular comic Kevin James in a virtual reboot of uber-successful The King of Queens, a show which Remini starred in while still in good standing with the Church of Scientology.

It might seem disingenuous for me, an actor and a Scientologist, to disparage her, while at the same time purporting to appreciate the rise of kindness and empathy in our culture. But I actually do have sympathy for Remini, whom I once called a friend.

Hate is a trap, as many are beginning to wake up to. It’s the trap that keeps people chained to their past transgressions. It’s the trap that damages the hater as much as it does the target of their enmity. And it’s the trap Remini and her producers are up to their necks in.

For that reason, I feel sorry for her. It’s sad to watch her purveying a brand that makes of herself the poster child for prejudice and discrimination—particularly at a time when so many others have discarded hateful and intolerant tactics and are, as Gary Vee says, “deploying empathy.”

The most civilizing movements on Earth have valued empathy, compassion and forgiveness. The most loathed have avoided those virtues like the plague. It’s gratifying to note how the fashion has changed. Remini and Disney would be wise to follow it.

Jim Meskimen
Jim Meskimen is an actor, director, impressionist and YouTube personality. He comes from a show-business family; his mom is actress Marion Ross, who portrayed “Mrs. C” on Happy Days. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Tamra and daughter Taylor who are also actresses and voice artists.