Geico Spokesman R. Lee Ermey Fired For Criticizing Obama, He Claims

R. Lee Ermey GEICO fired

Professional tough guy R. Lee Ermey parlayed his time in the Marine Corps into various uniformed roles in "Full Metal Jacket," "Apocalypse Now," and as a drill sergeant-turned-therapist in a popular TV spot for Geico. But in a recent interview with TMZ, Ermey claimed that he was fired from his Geico gig after publicly criticizing President Obama in his trademark trash-talking, chest-pounding style.

"We're having a big problem this year. The economy really sucks. Now I hate to point fingers at anybody, but the president's administration probably has a lot to do with that," Ermey announced to the crowd at a videotaped Christmas Toys 4 Tots benefit in 2010. He went on to say that President Barack Obama's White House was "destroying the country" and "driving us into bankruptcy so that they can impose socialism on us...." He advised the American people to "rise up."

Less than a month later, Ermey backtracked on his comments on his website, claiming that he was simply upset by the weak economy, which had dampened the charity toy drive. "I regret that I delivered a monologue that was inappropriately critical of the President. I was trying to be entertaining and simply went too far in this instance," he wrote. "... My comments were misguided, emotionally based, and for that I am truly sorry."

More: Discussing Politics In The Office: Asking For Trouble?

But Ermey claims that he was pink-slipped him for the speech, anyway. "If you're a conservative in this town, you better watch out," he told TMZ in a recent interview.

Geico flatly denied Ermey's charge in a statement to Fox News, saying that the actor wasn't fired, but rather that their talent agreement simply expired and they decided to move on with a different campaign.

Ermey's conservative politics make him a relatively rare species in Hollywood, a town known for its splashy Democratic fundraisers and zealous support for same-sex marriage, among other progressive causes. "I don't have anything in common with Hollyweird," he told The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., a couple of years back.

More: News Anchor Claims He Was Fired For Complaining About Studio Filth

But Ermey's road to Tinseltown was also unusual. After serving over a decade in the Marines and first being cast while studying in the Philippines on the G.I. Bill, his role in a Vietnam-era movie caught the attention of Stanley Kubrick, and Ermey's been happily typecast ever since.

As the rumor mill has it, other actors have been blackballed for straying from liberal orthodoxy. In a lengthy profile of Gary Oldman for GQ, Chris Heath wrote that it was "plausible" that the Oscars snubbed the actor for his performance in "The Contender" because of his politics. Oldman also told Heath that he once received a call from Dustin Hoffman, urging him to be "careful," because Hoffman once said some "stuff" to a powerful person a while back, who made sure Hoffman didn't work for a long while.

But Ermey has already found other work to fill the Geico void, including a role in an X-Play special describing the weapons used by players in the first-person shooter video game, "Bulletstorm." As an outspoken gun-rights advocate and National Rifle Association board member, Ermey likely had no issue for this gig mixing his politics and his work.




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Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.

Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at claire.gordon@teamaol.com. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.

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dfdvd

Geico is commiting illegal acts people WAKE UP- They think cause of any of their 'inside boys' tells them to do something to innocent people or customers they do it. I'm telling you this company needs to be sued. They are up to no good.

February 27 2013 at 10:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dfdvd

cause geico is a sick company.... who should be taken to court or taken off the air at the minimum.

February 27 2013 at 10:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stephen

Yet another example of failing to engage brain before operating mouth! I do like Mr. Ermy and those of us remembering our beginning days in Basic Training hold some fondness for his style of speaking. Each American has the right to voice his/her opinion and the rest of us have the right to use or lose those comments. I tend to agree with Ermy's statements to an extent. For me and my opinion...I am starting to believe that America is slowly getting away from democracy with more emphasis placed on capitalism. Now, instead of 3 classes of Americans we have only 2...the wealthy and the rest of us.

August 30 2012 at 10:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ladyofthecelts2

It's pretty scary when a person feel the necessity to apologize for making their opinion known out loud. Since when did this country take our freedom of speech and thought? This is an omen and it does not bode well for any of us.

August 30 2012 at 10:33 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ladyofthecelts2's comment
Arlene

We let the PC crowd start with one word, the another and now its gone. Why Americans will not stand up for their rights is a mystery? Kiss the bill of rights good-bye.

September 01 2012 at 1:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Larry

He's about the only real person in Hollyweird. Very tired of hearing all the nonesense about Kardashians, and the GEICO commercials have gone from amusing to annoying, especially with their quantity. It's like Kardashians - no content and way too much exposure.
You can add in Ugly Flo from the "Progessive" commercials - a company with a Socialist leading it.

August 30 2012 at 8:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimnlimbo

I USED to like him, he may have just ended his acting career...

August 30 2012 at 5:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jrp1947

given the choice between this star and Hollywood give me the actor any day. But if Hollywood wants to self destruct then let it. It is about time America turns it back on these losers.

August 30 2012 at 2:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
socraticknight

once again, hollywood is flexing its imorallity-inducing, freedom of speech touting, liberal muscles to bully conservatives or gop actors. wonder how mat damon is doing since he probably was banned from doing another Bourne movie for being a republican. the latest Bourne movie would have been a lot better and made more money if Damon was starring in it.

August 29 2012 at 11:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MASTER BREEZE

FIRST OF ALL ERMERY IS AN LOUD MOUTH ACTOR WHO HAS BEEN TOO OLD FOR MOST OF THE PARTS HE'S PLAYED. SECOND THE PRESEIDENT IS NOT RUNNING THE COUNTRY INTO THE GROUND UPON HIS APPOINTMENT THE COUNTRY WAS ALREADY 5 FEET UNDER. YOU AND STIFF PEOPLE LIKE YOU HAVE TOTALLY FORGOTTEN BEFORE THIS WAR OVER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. THAT PRESIDENT THAT YOU FOLKS ELECTED WAS ABOUT TO BE IMPREACH .NOT ONLY DID THE WAR SAVE BUSHES POSITION IT INABLED HIM TO REMOVE MONIES FROM SS ERMERY HAD NO COMMENT AND YOU OTHER DUMMIES REFUSED TO GO AGAINST THAT DUMAXX DURING WAR TIME EVEN AFTER FINDING OUT THERE ARE NO WMD. YOU STUCK BY THAT RECTUM BUSH IS THE REASON FOR THE WAR AND THE DEBT HE STARTED THE SNOWBALL ROLLING. THE MAN ELECTED TO STOP THE BUILDING SNOW BALL ,YOU TRY TO ACT LIKE OBAMA'S THE REASON FOR THE ECONOMIC BREAK DOWN . THINGS ARE BAD ALL OVER NOW BECAUSE BUSH PICKED A WAR FOR PERSONAL REASONS AND WE CAN'T JUST PULL OUT. GIVE PERSIDENT.OBAMA A SECOND TERM AND THING WILL IMPROVE.

August 29 2012 at 10:47 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
Wilson's JW & BW

If you had any sense Geico is a military company. I have not heard one word from Mitt/Paul about the military families and the soldiers fighting for this country. The President fought for funding for veterans while the Republicans fought to do nothing.

August 29 2012 at 10:19 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

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