Comment from “Veep” star prompts Twitter campaign from Columbia residents

It was an offhand comment about working in a warehouse-like sound stage, but it did not go over well in Columbia.

In an interview with Vulture, the pop culture Web site of New York Magazine, “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, appeared to slight Columbia, home of the sound stage where HBO films much of the show.

“Thank God the work’s good. Can you imagine if it wasn’t? It would be like a prison,” she is quoted as saying.

Louis-Dreyfus, who spent part of her childhood in the District’s Spring Valley neighborhood and attended the Holton-Arms School, in Bethesda, apologized Thursday on Twitter and said she didn’t mean the Howard County town any ill will:

Just want 2 clarify.I love Maryland.Our crew is fab.The prison joke was a joke re: the warehouse.Truly sorry if anyone was offended.

— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) December 12, 2013

The apology didn’t come quickly enough for residents of Columbia, however. “Veep” isn’t the first big-name production to take place there, and residents don’t take kindly to Hollywood types marching through their suburban enclave and turning up their noses.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (D), a candidate for Maryland lieutenant governor, taped a humorous three-minute video in his office saying he was a “big fan” of Louis-Dreyfus and listing some of the best that Columbia has to offer, such as Merriweather Post Pavilion and a Whole Foods being built into the former Rouse Co. headquarters.

“Julie Louis-Dreyfus, we love you, you haven’t seen the real Columbia,” Ulman said.

The video prompted a Twitter campaign, #awesomecolumbia, that showed just how much some Columbia residents love their town and how little they will accept even the slightest of celebrity slights.

The way a pathway winds through a stand of trees or next to a river and creates a view that stops you in your tracks… #AwesomeColumbia

— Ian Kennedy (@iankennedy7) December 12, 2013

I live in a place where kids still play ball in the street and can walk to school. #AwesomeColumbia

— Megan Barnes (@Rafferbee) December 12, 2013

#AwesomeColumbia is where we work, play, & live to give! We don't care what others say...this is our beautiful #homesweethome!

— CAC of Howard Co (@HoCoCAC) December 13, 2013

Columbia has some big plans for making over the woodlands around Merriweather Post Pavilion. Perhaps the improvements will stave off future criticisms, real or perceived.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.
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