Oscars in Memoriam 2019

The firearms community has a long, complicated history with Hollywood. From our point of view, it has become a world too often dominated by hypocrisy, with actors, actresses, directors, producers and studios all equally culpable. Films glorify violence with the gun. Meanwhile, the Hollywood elite cry from ivory towers for more gun control. The latest pitiful example of that hypocrisy reared its ugly head when the Oscars in Memoriam 2019 segment left out R. Lee Ermey.

Sure, we’re biased. R. Lee Ermey, “the Gunny,” was a friend to Athlon Outdoors. He did plenty of writing for our titles over the years, including Tactical Life and Ballistic Magazine. Moreover, he stood as an icon of the firearms industry. He was the unlikely star, yet he maintained his Marine Corps ethos and remained a staunch supporter of the firearms community and the 2nd Amendment. And there can be little doubt this cost him even further success. At the very least, it likely led to Ermey being left out of the Oscars in Memoriam segment.

The former Marine Corps drill instructor exploded onto the screen as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, the epitome of a mean, hard-nosed DI turning out Marines for the jungles of Vietnam. Filmed as an anti-war film, “Full Metal Jacket,” and with it Ermey, nevertheless became a cult classic for soldiers and Marines everywhere. For the firearm industry and 2nd Amendment community, Ermey became a legend.

That supporting role, and the impact it had, is alone worthy of entry into the Oscars segment. But Ermey did much more, starring in major and minor roles, showing both depth and range in a long, successful career. There is no legitimate excuse for not giving this icon his due on what is Hollywood’s biggest annual stage.

Oscars in Memoriam Snub

Why, then, was the Gunny left out?

We asked that question to the press contact for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy gave no response by press time. So we probed a bit further, and found oscar.go.com, an ABC website promoting the annual broadcast. There, toward the bottom of the home page is a photo gallery, “Oscars In Memoriam 2019 Photos.” In it, number 138 of 211 is R. Lee Ermey.

That inclusion on this website is, to us, the smoking gun, so to speak. They didn’t forget to include Ermey, which though inexcusable would at least prove without malice. There are 211 names on the list after all. No, the inclusion of this photo suggests Ermey didn’t make the cut. Whether by the Academy itself, or from someone at ABC, which broadcast the Oscars, someone chose not to include the Gunny.

And for that, there can be no legitimate excuse. Ermey’s career warranted inclusion. Period. But they didn’t want him there, just like they don’t want the collective “us” that is the firearm community. They want our box office dollars, our Netflix subscriptions and all the revenue Hollywood can extract. But they still don’t want a true inclusion from the firearm community.

So like we always do, we honor our own. And we do so here, another metaphorical 21 gun salute to R. Lee Ermey. We still love and miss you Gunny, and we are diminished by your loss.

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