American author Bret Easton Ellis, writer of the cult classic American Psycho, is currently doing press rounds for the release of first work of non-fiction, White, and it’s not going so well for the so-called literary “Brat Pack” member. In his interview with The New Yorker Ellis made numerous comments on how people are overreacting to Donald Trump, First Lady Michelle Obama, and his feelings on the #MeToo movement, none which were received well in the public sphere.
Originally titled, Privileged White Male, it’s truly a wonder why Ellis wrote White, a musing on the current political atmosphere. The author discusses his views on “warped authoritarian moral superiority movement” and the “fake-woke corporate culture,” but in the back and forth with The New Yorker reporter, Isaac Chotiner, he said, “The only problem, however, is that I am not that political, and so, when we have this conversation, and you confront me with certain things like this, I really am, I have to say, at a loss.”
Readers of this article instead championed Chotiner, who called out Ellis, 55, on each and every one of his boisterous inaccurate statements. The writer’s flippant regard for the truth and spewing opinions on topics he clearly knows very little about, even though these are all major points of discussion in White — it reminded all of his one-time fans of how long it’s been since Ellis wrote a good book, and his long history of being an extremely egotistical, unlikeable man.
For those who can recall Ellis’s 1991 novel, Donald Trump was an influential character in American Psycho. Serial killer Patrick Bateman, famously played by actor Christian Bale in the film version, was his biggest fan. Perhaps, this can explain why Ellis continues to hold such affinity for the President, but it’s hard to understand why the author wrote a book about topics he doesn’t care to thoroughly research.
On Trump’s popularity Ellis said, “What does he have, a ninety-three-per-cent approval rating, or, let’s say, a hundred per cent, from his base? Let’s say it is, over-all, way up, from thirty-eight per cent to fifty per cent, or even higher. And let’s say Latinos are now fifty-per-cent approval for Trump.”
A comment for which Chotiner quickly shuts down. “That’s not true. But o.k…. I am looking at the Five Thirty Eight average, he’s at 42 percent.”
“You are a novelist,” Chotiner said. “You write about the human condition. Do you worry about the self-harm of people who see things like child separation and have no emotional response?”
“I think I am an absurdist,” Ellis responded. “I think politics are ridiculous.”
Chotiner said. “Maybe don’t write a book about it. Would that be the solution?”
Ellis said, “I think the problem is that I don’t necessarily see this as interesting as fiction.”
“Yeah, I could tell,” Chotiner said.
In White, Ellis details his frustration with the liberal consensus, and the seemingly superior way they all look down on Trump voters. He writes that Michelle Obama is “breathlessly condescending” and as for Trump himself he said to Chotiner, “I just think that there is a man that got elected President. He is in the White House. He has vast support from his base. He was elected fairly and legally. And I think what happened is that the left is so hurt by this that they have overreacted to the Presidency. Now, look, I live with a Democratic, socialist-bordering-on-communist millennial. I hear it every day.”
The “Democratic socialist” Ellis is referring to is boyfriend, musician Todd Michael Schulz, who Ellis previously mentioned to director Eli Roth for Interview magazine, as a “millennial communist.”
“Even Living with Todd,” Ellis said, “who is vehemently anti-Trump and passionately pro–prison reform. So Trump gets a prison-reform bill through. My boyfriend doesn’t care, there’s still something wrong with it because it came from Trump. The problem with the resistance in Trump is that Trump doesn’t care about the resistance. That’s why he’s flourished for the last three years.”
As for whether or not Ellis sees Trump as racist he said, “Yeah, probably he is. Because when I was doing research on him, way back in the 1980s, during American Psycho, the policies he and his father were talking about – in terms of not letting people live in certain buildings, and the overreaction to the Central Park jogging case—was annoying enough to make him a figure in American Psycho, where Patrick Bateman sees him as the father he never had.”
Ellis gained notoriety in the literary world after releasing his first novel at age 21, Less than Zero. His second book, The Rules of Attraction, was released in 1987, and then came his most famous novel, American Psycho, both which were later turned into a movies. In 2004, he wrote the famously bad movie The Canyons, which gained attention for featuring actress Lindsay Lohan in a nude scene.