Matthew McConaughey’s impassioned speech pleading for gun control in the aftermath of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the city where the actor was born, has left hardly anyone unmoved. Well, one way or another.
McConaughey, a gun owner and a beloved Oscar-winning actor, used the power of his near-universal visibility to weigh in on a debate that has the power to fuel heated discussions, and has proven very divisive across the United States.
And while many have praised the actor for his moving speech, just as many have bashed him for stepping out of his Hollywood background.
Just after the actor’s speech, one of the reporters at the White House asked McConaughey if he was “grandstanding.”
The actor called for Congress to “reach a higher ground” and pass stricter gun control legislation, and yet some of the reactions to McConaughey’s 22-minute speech have disparaged the actor for having played controversial characters during his career.
“The White House is so devoid of credible surrogates they’ve had to drag Matthew McConaughey off the set of yet another Magic Mike sequel to drone on about gun control. Not alright, not alright, not alright!,” wrote on Twitter Colorado’s Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert.
“Matthew McConaughey performs as a male stripper in movies. I don’t really care what he thinks of the Second Amendment, if we’re being honest,” wrote Congress Republican candidate for Nevada Carolina Serrano.
The blur between reality and fiction was crossed again on social media, with some critics of the actor accusing McConaughey of hypocrisy for advocating for gun control while repeatedly portraying characters armed with firearms.
“You know what’s hilarious? When an actor tries to lecture me on gun control and gun violence, when he has made millions from his movies displaying gun violence. #MatthewMcConaughey if you really cared, donate every dime you’ve ever made to victims of gun violence and gun safety,” wrote a user on Twitter.
“Yeah sure but it’s ok when you are shooting a movie and making lots of money to glorify gun use. I know it’s just TV and not real life but still, all these years to make a difference but now?,” wrote another.
Breitbart, the far-right news network, took a jab at the actor’s credibility by writing that McConaughey “has used 19 guns in 11 movies over 25 years, according to the Internet Movie Firearms Database.”
Although the movie industry has a powerful hold on our collective imagination, the use of firearms by McConaughey on the silver screen has hardly anything to do with the use of weapons in real life by regular Americans.
Counterbalancing this criticism, there was an outpouring of support for the actor.
“I am also from Texas. I don’t own a gun and I don’t have an Oscar but I couldn’t agree more with everything this ardent supporter of the 2A had to say. He has a much bigger voice and much tighter abs. Thank you #MatthewMcConaughey,” wrote James Roday Rodriguez on Twitter.
“Matthew McConaughey (who is from Uvalde) gave an amazing speech pushing for gun reform at the White House Press briefing. This had to be one of the most impassioned, sensible, and amazing speech on gun reform I’ve heard,” wrote another user.
The hashtag #MatthewMcConaugheyForPresident has also appeared on Twitter, used by people who said the actor could “stop the political divide” and “unite the country on this issue.”