Michael Fassbender: Trump is popular because people ‘feel disenfranchised’

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Unf. While I’ve spent most of 2016 falling out of love with Michael Fassbender, I totally lingered on this British GQ editorial. This is quite literally the best Fassy has looked in a few years. I’ve said before that I don’t mind the ginger beard, but his current haircut was not working for me… until this shoot. I think that’s his issue: he needs a professional hairstylist to muss up his hair. In any case, it’s working. Fassy covered the December issue to promote… you name it. The Light Between Oceans, Trespass Against Us and Assassin’s Creed all came out/are coming out this fall and winter. So Fassy tried to be extra charming and quote-baity in the interview. Some highlights:

On his name still being mentioned as a contender for James Bond: “Bond! Is this rumour still going round?” It is, very much so, I tell him. “You would have thought I was out of the bookies by now.” So come on, once and for all, would he consider playing James Bond? “To be honest, no. As an acting role, I think Daniel has done such a cracking job in this age group.”

When told that Daniel Craig is a decade older than him:
“Well, look at me! I look about 50! No, I think the [Bond] franchise needs something new.”

His idea for a Bond reboot: “What about we start the film back in Sandhurst, army training, rather than on a yacht, or he’s in the Middle East on an op and gets thrown in the brig for insubordination. He’s going to get court-martialed…Well, I have thought about it a lot. The film could start off in Sandhurst and how he became a ‘double 0′. M could walk in and say to him, ‘Bond, there’s a 00 project but it’s going to be totally off the book, black ops, and you’ve got to go into prison undetected.’ I just love Bond. Doesn’t everyone? I grew up with him. It’s always a fun conversation to have. But Bond should be someone in their early twenties.”

Whether Ryan Gosling should play Bond: “Sure, why not? I always thought Bond should be British, but let’s get an American in. Or maybe someone like Jack O’Connell would be good? Or even better, how about Jane Bond? A woman. One thing is for sure, it won’t be anyone on the bookies’ lists. It never is.”

On Donald Trump: “I think people are angry and that’s why Trump got such a huge following. They feel disenfranchised and this is their way to strike back. But is he the answer they are looking for? Feels to me like he’s someone who got us into this mess in the first place, with the bankers and so on – he’s just part of the problem.”

[From British GQ]

Fassy talking about “bankers” gives me a queasy feeling, not so much about Fassy but about the coded, dog-whistle anti-Semitic language Trump used during the campaign. Whenever Trump mentioned “bankers,” it was like a siren to a certain segment that “the Jewish people are to blame.” But I agree with Fassy, Trump was and is part of the problem.

As for what he says about Bond… he has thought about it a lot. I’d still like to see Idris Elba take a whack at it, but Fassy’s idea of an origin story isn’t bad at all. I’m not sure it would be interesting to go all the way back to Sandhurst, but maybe to Bond’s early days in the British Navy? That’s part of the Bond canon, isn’t it? That Bond was a naval officer or he worked naval intelligence? And I do appreciate that Fassy is promoting the idea of a female Bond. Why not? So many dudes are butthurt about the very idea though.

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Photos courtesy of WENN, British GQ.

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79 Responses to “Michael Fassbender: Trump is popular because people ‘feel disenfranchised’”

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  1. Pedro45 says:

    I don’t follow him that closely but I think he meant “bankers” as a catch-all phrase for “all rich people who effed up the economy and walked away unscathed” and not anti-Semitic code.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Me too, and I’m Jewish.

      Mazel tov cocktails, anyone? Going to be a long day and night…

    • toni says:

      You either are not that educated or purposely ignoring the Anti-Semitic history of blaming Jews for economic troubles.

      • Pedro45 says:

        Actually, I am extremely well educated and well-versed in history. I just didn’t think this particular remark was an example of it. Trump’ s campaign? Yes, absolutely. This one comment, I was just giving him the benefit of the doubt. When Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren talk about the big banks and Wall Street, they are not being anti-Semitic either. Sometimes it’s just shorthand for income inequality.

        I am very sorry if I was unclear. I would never defend bigotry. And this is the most that I have ever thought about Michael Fassbender.

        But I sincerely apologize if I came across as bigoted or defending bigotry.

      • Lucrezia says:

        Which “him”? Fassbender or Trump?

        If you meant Trump was possibly (likely) being anti-Semetic, then okay. But Fassbender is Irish. When HE talks about bankers that got us into this mess … he wouldn’t be thinking of Goldman Sachs (an American bank), he’d be thinking of the banks involved in the Irish Banking Crisis: the Bank of Ireland and Anglo Irish Bank. The Jewish banker stereotype is more common in the US because you have a bunch of banks with obviously Jewish names. That’s not the case elsewhere. When all the banks are called things like Ireland Bank, Anglo Irish bank, Allied Irish Bank … the assumption is that the evil bankers are evil Anglo/white/Irish guys.

      • Pedro45 says:

        I meant Fassbender when I said “him”. I thought that was obvious in a thread about Fassbender, but maybe I was unclear about everything. And yes, I know he is Irish and not American, although the offensive stereotype of “Jews control the world economy” was obviously not started in the US. And Goldman Sachs, for example, is global not just an American institution.

        I am not even a particular fan of his, I just thought he was talking about income inequality rather than being a bigoted conspiracy theorist but I don’t know.

      • Anthi says:

        He didn’t mean Jewish people, banks are a huge part of the problem in the current economic crisis, you will hear a lot of Europeans blaming the banks and it has nothing to do with Jewish people and everything to do with big corporations, huge loans without the necessary backup, bribes and corrupt politicians.

      • Lucrezia says:

        @Pedro: my comment above was directed at toni, not you. I was wondering if maybe she’d misunderstood your comment, and thought you were defending Trump. That could explain her getting defensive. But if she had read you right, and was accusing Fassbender of being anti-Semetic, then I wanted to explain that the Irish context that makes it even more unlikely that he said “bankers” and meant “Jews”. It might be dog-whistle code in the US, but it’s not code elsewhere. Make sense? I understood and agreed with you, he was simply talking about bankers (no dog-whistle/anti-Semetic code). It was toni I was disagreeing with.

      • Pedro45 says:

        Thanks for clarifying, Lucrezia. Sorry if I was snippy.

    • Sixer says:

      He did. The current use of “bankers” as a pejorative, in Europe at least, refers to elite white men and their role in the 2008 crash, as I said below. Can’t speak for current American usage, of course, but no anti-Semitic undertone from Fassbender here, I’d bet my bottom pound (dollar).

    • LinaLamont says:

      @Pedro45
      I wasn’t going to jump into this conversation, because, I’ve been dismayed at how many antisemitic comments have been allowed to pass moderation and wind up in posts here.
      I agree with @toni about “Anti-Semitic history of blaming Jews for economic troubles.”.
      HOWEVER, not for one second did I interpret YOUR comment as ignorant or antisemitic or bigoted.
      As for Fassbender, I don’t know anything about him, so, I don’t know what he meant.

      • Pedro45 says:

        Yeah, I really regret starting this. I obviously don’t know Fassbender, so I don’t know what he meant and should not have defended him. I thought he meant income inequality but maybe not.

        Thank you. I absolutely know about the rise in anti-Semitism and am horrified. I never intended to sound like I was defending it in any way.

      • LinaLamont says:

        @Pedro45

        You didn’t “start” anything. Some people just like to pile on. It’s ridiculous that you have to defend an unambiguous opinion. It’s clear that the “him” you were referring to is Fassbender. Oh, well.

      • Sixer says:

        You didn’t start it, Pedro. Kaiser mentioned it in the article and had clearly understood that the term was a coded dog whistle when Trump used it but not a coded dog whistle when Fassbender used it. I don’t know if he would have been aware enough to not use it if talking to an American publication but he was talking to a British publication and in Britain and Ireland, “bankers” means “elite white men who we bailed out in 2008 and none of them went to prison”. No reader of British GQ would have taken an anti-Semitic dog whistle from that.

        Toni just misunderstood what was happening here – to whit, coded language differs between countries/societies.

    • Annetommy says:

      Lucrezia and Sixer have provided the context. I would be surprised if Fassbender was being anti Semitic. While he hasn’t lived there for years, he has said he keeps in touch with Irish affairs. In Ireland and in the UK, the failing banks were bailed out by taxpayers, yet today senior managers are still paid huge bonuses. In the UK, “Fred the Shred” of the Royal Bank of Scotland – formerly Sir Fred the Shred, who was de-knighted – was the chief villain. In Ireland it was the Anglo – Irish Bank. Ireland in particular was plunged into deep recession for years, from which it is now emerging. The whole situation was appallingly handled, and was in large part due to banks moving away from being solid and respectable and wanting to be in the more “exciting” world of high finance. Taxpayers were justifiably angry. I don’t think Michael was dog-whistling. I am aware that phrases like ” global banking interests” can be coded references and that of course is despicable.

    • annaloo. says:

      I can only say this. Bankers = Wall Street. Wall Street = Bankers. That is how I have always seen it, even when Bernie was going after the billionaires, 1% and Wall Street in the primaries.

      I realize the perjorative angle, but I don’t thin kthis is what Fassbender meant.

    • noname says:

      Yep, I agree. No need in looking for antisemitism where it doesn’t exist. “Bankers” is just code for rich people who control everything, not specifically Jewish, sheesh.

    • hogtowngooner says:

      Fassbender, being Irish, very likely would have meant bankers as those who robbed the Irish taxpayers and were rewarded with bonuses. What they did to that country and its people was unforgivable.

      Also, Fassy honey, Ryan Gosling is CANADIAN! :)

  2. Dids says:

    I loooooove watching him in movies, but in pictures, not so much. I guess it’s an aura/charisma thing. Am I the only one?

  3. TalkingAbout says:

    Why is he talking about Trump? Does he hold an American citizenship?

  4. original kay says:

    I hope this link gets posted. Please read this article, it’s worth the time.
    I don’t know if people feel “disenfranchised”, or if they truly don’t have any knowledge of facts. For me, I think it’s knowledge.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201407/anti-intellectualism-and-the-dumbing-down-america

    Or if you don’t want to read it, watch Idiocracy.

  5. Sixer says:

    To be fair, I don’t think bankers has quite the same implication this side of the Pond. We think of elite white men – eg Fred the Shred, the guy at RBS who cost the country a fortune in the crash of 2008. He means elite white men here, of whom Trump is one.

    There’s a fine line between acknowledging people’s grievances and tacitly excusing what (racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, even fascist) opinions result from them.

  6. boredblond says:

    I’m tired of people acting like disgruntled voters are a new phenomenon..history shows there have always been groups who feel left out. The fact is the policies have been set by white men since day one so his core supporters need to remember that real change isn’t about continuing that pattern.

    • Flan says:

      This.

      And a lot of that ‘feeling disenfranchised’ is them no longer being able to legally bully or be ahead of women and minorities by legal constructions set up to favour them.

      They now have to play on more equal terms and the system is not set up anymore to massively cheat for them. Instead of finding that fair, they think that’s them being oppressed.

      Thing is: you’re not being oppressed just because you can’t oppress others anymore.

      Zero respect for those whiners.

  7. Who ARE These People? says:

    That’s funny about Ryan Gosling … he’s Canadian. Probably dual citizen by now, but always clearly Canadian.

  8. Sage says:

    I agree Michael, you do look 50. I blame it on the rapid weight loss for Hunger.

  9. Abigail says:

    I think there is literally 0% chance that he was expressing a coded dog whistle for anti-semitism in this interview.
    Great guy–intelligent, good-looking, comfortable in his own 39-year-old looking skin (not 50!) and grounded. Love him. Will see him in anything.
    And yes, the rest of the world is looking on at the election and–given what Trump has said about NATO, nuclear weapons, etc–has every right to be interested and concerned.

  10. I Choose Me says:

    That last picture is doing thing to me. LBTO is not my jam but I plan to watch Trespass and Assassin’s Creed. I luff him now and always.

  11. Who ARE These People? says:

    If he could just think a little deeper…he might realize that the Americans who are truly disenfranchised … black Americans, poor Americans, disabled and elderly Americans … are not likely to be supporting Trump.

    I’ve had it up to *here* with sympathy for people who use losing their jobs and not keeping up with changing times as an excuse for bigoted behavior. Their polling places aren’t being cut and their lines won’t be as long; their voting districts are safe and no one tries to mislead them into texting in their vote or going to the wrong polling place. Their IDs won’t be challenged and they will find themselves on the rolls.

    • Sixer says:

      That’s what’s worrying me about this kind of discourse too. Here in Britain, people are explaining Brexit in terms of the “disenfranchised white working class”.

      1) as if there are no POC in the British working class – FFS, of course there are. Often put there by structural racism.

      2) yes, some de-industrialised communites have been left behind. Solutions need to be found. This does not excuse racism, xenophobia or misogyny on either the part of the left behind or the part of those who want to be in charge and are suggesting the solutions should be racist, xenophobic or misogynist.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Sixer we could be a 2-person trans-Atlantic Think Tank. You’d be the brains, of course.

        I’ll be the Historian. The Great Depression and WWI reparations did not justify why the nation of Germany chose to follow Adolf Hitler and slaughter much of Europe’s Jewish population and we know that because other countries did not go down that path.

        With Brexit and with Trump we have clear cases of demagogues manipulating the bigotry already lurking in the culture – they have activated the somewhat dormant virus, the way Hitler liberated the ever-lurking European cultural virus of anti-Semitism.

      • Sixer says:

        I don’t know about the brains – the constantly furious shouty one?!

        Yes to all of that.

    • Flan says:

      A lot of very angry white people (mostly men) still have jobs, but find it totally unfair that women and minorities no longer obey them and the system is no longer rigged so they get the best jobs without actually being the most-hardworking/best.

      They have to make more effort now to be thought of as special. That pisses them off and makes them wag their tails so fast when Trump rips into those people they now have to compete with.

  12. ell says:

    well he’s not wrong, he does look 50.

    i’m tired of hearing about people feeling disenfranchised as an excuse. like, no. you feel disenfranchised so you begin to agree with racist, xenophobic and borderline fascists factions…. because??

  13. Lindy79 says:

    As an irish person who is one of the people paying through raised and hidden taxes for our governments bail out of our largest banks due to both sides corruption and fraud and we will be for generations to come i can assure you he didn’t mean it in an anti semitic way

    • Annetommy says:

      Amen. I worked in the Irish public sector, and as a direct result of the banking crisis, my salary in 2015 was about a quarter less than it had been in 2008 pre banking crisis. That big chunk out of my pay was a direct result of banker’s actions. They didn’t pay though. Public servants who had nothing to do with causing the crisis did pay. Who wouldn’t be angry!

  14. Missy says:

    Michael, you beautiful genius. Jack O’Connell would be amazing as James Bond!

  15. Cupcake says:

    Wow! He is gorgeous on this cover.

  16. GreenieWeenie says:

    Minor correction: they don’t “feel” disenfranchised. They are disenfranchised. I think you’d be hard pressed to demonstrate that they’ve ever been anything but disenfranchised.

    All my theories about racism being perpetuated to distract poor whites from their own disenfranchisement are begging to come out…what makes a poor white man feel like he’s doing okay–like he’s moving forward and has some control over his own fate? Looking down and seeing a whole other socioeconomic class that isn’t going anywhere, and has far less control over its own fate. Put a black man in charge of the country, and all of a sudden the poor white man realizes he hasn’t gone anywhere at all. If anything, he now has less than ever.

    • Nik says:

      A big YES to everything you said in your second paragraph.

    • HK9 says:

      Yup! The problem is, for them to get out, they need to educate themselves and since they won’t do that, they want to “turn back the clock” not realizing that the world has and will continue to march on.

      • Kitten says:

        I’m not sure an education is even required though.

        It’s just that they don’t want to do basic-level jobs that they perceive to be “beneath them” (ie jobs that many immigrants wisely flock to) and they don’t seem motivated enough to go to trade school and learn a skill set.

        I can tell you this: in Massachusetts electricians, plumbers, carpenters are in extremely high demand to the point that there is often a wait period if you’re building new construction or working on an existing house.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      They may be disempowered but they are not disenfranchised — deprived of their legal right to vote — to the extent that Black Americans have for more than 100 years.

      • Kitten says:

        Right. How do any of these definitions of “disenfranchise” apply to the segment of our population who is voting for Trump (primarily white, working-class men)?

        1.deprive (someone) of the right to vote:
        2. deprived of power; marginalized
        3. deprive (someone) of a right or privilege:
        4. deprive (someone) of the rights and privileges of a free inhabitant of a borough, city, or country.

        Disempowered is a much more appropriate adjective IMO: 1.make (a person or group) less powerful or confident.

        At the risk of initiating an annoying semantical argument, I think being disempowered is most often based on personal and subjective perception. These people aren’t actually less powerful as a group, they just FEEL less powerful.
        Sure, they might not have access to the factory jobs that were available 40, 50 years ago but there’s nobody actively preventing them from finding another job. They still have opportunity thus they still have power, they just chose not to use it because it’s easier to blame Obama.

      • Greenieweenie says:

        @WATP I don’t think disempowered is quite the right word. Poor whites have a history of disenfranchisement too, through various means. And I would argue that they’ve never been empowered by anything except the false construct of their racial superiority.

        By being blatantly denied civil rights for so long, black Americans knew clearly what they didn’t have and what they wanted to achieve. This aided their political mobilization. But the other gains–dismantling the less obvious aspects of systemic racism–have proven much harder for black Americans to realize. That’s why the political rhetoric of desegregation shifts so easily into “pull yourself up your bootstraps” conservatism: the building blocks are there, systemically, and they’re hard to unmask.

        But poor white Americans–not so much. They were always marginally privileged by race. Makes it harder to see what you’re not getting and what you want to achieve. I don’t blame them for not thinking the current system works for them. But neither does either party and in fact, the system has never worked for them.

        IMO, of course.

  17. Honey bear says:

    Bankers = Jewish? I guess I don’t understand anti-Semitism. Perhaps you must be a religious person to dislike others based on their religion. Never understood it.

  18. Guesto says:

    ZOMG serious jealousy.

    So tired of reading anti-Fassbinder posts on here based on nothing other than the writer’s dislike of his gf.

  19. p says:

    I’m Irish too and to an Irish person, a banker= rich Irish white men that are depriving working-class and middle class people of public services like a health service, education (the universities need serious investments, the secondary schools i.e. our equivalent of secondary schools were just prefabs for the most part, 140,000 Irish people are homeless, huge drug epidemic, public servants like the police and teachers are involved in industrial action..preparing to strike..nurses to follow as well. The Irish politicians are due to get a €5,000 pay rise while its citizens are struggling to pay spiralling rents and expensive mortgages. Ireland doesn’t even have many Jewish people..some clustered in Dublin but that’s pretty much it so the idea that Michael Fassbender was being anti-semitic is just farcical. The gap between rich and poor is widening in America, Ireland and all over the world. That does not equal anti-semitism. People have a right to protest against classism and social inequality. I know this is a gossip website but honestly, I really am shocked at the writer’s lack of knowledge when it comes to global affairs. Don’t you have CNN??

    Also, there is a lot of anti-banker sentiment in the US too…the fact that living standards have fallen for people who used to belong to the middle class while the 1% are getting richer. That’s why Bernie Sanders is popular as well as Elizabeth Warren.

  20. callmeishmael says:

    Fassbender has sex eyes. Hungry eyes. In any given photoshoot where he’s looking directly at the camera, it’s like he’s looking at *you* – he wants you, and he knows you want him, and you can run but you can’t hide. It’s a rare quality. You just know he’d be the very devil in bed. He startles me, actually.

  21. SM says:

    How a out Nicolas Hoult for a younger Bond?

  22. Sara says:

    Bingo, what a great simple way to say it.