The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Stacey Dash went from ’90s movie star to Fox News pundit. Now, she’s apologizing for being ‘prideful and angry’

Stacey Dash arrives at the premiere of “Outlander” Season 5 at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2020. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP Images)

Stacey Dash was once a reliably conservative voice on Fox News. She praised Donald Trump, defended him from charges of racism, and claimed she had been blacklisted in Hollywood for daring to share her right-wing views.

But now, a few months after the former president has left office, the 54-year-old “Clueless” star is singing a different tune.

In an interview with the Daily Mail published Thursday, she apologized for her record of incendiary remarks and denounced Trump, saying she had effectively been typecast during her time as a commentator for the network.

“I’ve lived my life being angry, which is what I was on Fox News. I was the angry, conservative, Black woman,” Dash told the tabloid. “... That anger is unsustainable, and it will destroy you. I made a lot of mistakes because of that anger.”

Some of those mistakes, she suggested, took the form of her repeated, contentious commentary on topics like the entertainment industry, gender and race — to the point that she was one of few who backed Trump’s comments on the 2017 white supremacist violence in Charlottesville that there were “very fine people, on both sides.”

It took a similar sight 3½ years later — this time, the image of a mob of angry Trump supporters storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 — for Dash to realize where she had erred, she said.

"Clueless" actress and Fox News contributor Stacey Dash stepped into the fiery discussion about the lack of diversity in this year's Oscar nominations. (Video: Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Dash, a native of the South Bronx, rose to fame for her role in the 1995 comedy film “Clueless,” playing a popular, fashionable Beverly Hills high-schooler named after the singer Dionne Warwick.

She went on to enjoy a steady stream of smaller roles on TV and in other comedy films, and she appeared in the music video for a song by rapper Kanye West. Her politics appeared to fall squarely in line with the rest of liberal Hollywood: In 2008, she put a Barack Obama bumper sticker on the back of her BMW.

But four years later, she abruptly announced that she was backing Republican Mitt Romney in his race against incumbent Democratic President Obama. Fans were quick to push back, with many openly questioning why a Black woman in Hollywood — all demographics that skew Democratic — would back the conservative ticket.

“I really don’t understand the fury. I don’t get it,” she told CNN at the time. “I was shocked, really shocked. But you can’t expect everyone to agree with you.”

That exchange and others like it boosted her profile on cable news, and by 2014, she had fully transitioned from guest spots on comedies to a contributor role at Fox News.

That job seemed to bring her more attention than any recurring TV roles. Amid political debates over gender-neutral bathrooms, Dash said transgender people should “go in the bushes.” After “Grey’s Anatomy” actor Jesse Williams spoke up about racial injustice, she called him a “plantation slave.” One expletive during a tirade about Obama’s counterterrorism policies prompted Fox News to suspend her.

One of her most controversial comments came in January 2016, when she slammed the #OscarsSoWhite controversy as “ludicrous” and called for the elimination of Black History Month and BET. (The network had previously featured her in a recurring role on the comedy series, “The Game.”)

These days, Dash says in her Daily Mail interview published Thursday, she has become a very different person.

“There are things that I am sorry for. Things that I did say, that I should not have said them the way I said them,” Dash said. “They were very arrogant and prideful and angry. And that’s who Stacey was, but that’s not who Stacey is now. ... Stacey now would never work at Fox, would never work for a news network or be a news contributor.”

A spokesperson for Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.

After being dropped by Fox News in late 2016, she briefly planned a 2018 run for a congressional seat representing Southern California, only to drop out due to the “rigors of campaigning” and a bitter political climate.

But after a mob of Trump supporters stormed into the Capitol earlier this year, Dash called the riots “appalling and stupid.”

“When that happened I was like, ‘Ok, I’m done. I’m truly done,’ ” she told the Daily Mail. “Because senseless violence of any kind I denounce.”

That doesn’t mean she has shed all of her more conservative beliefs. As Dash told the Daily Mail, she is “not a feminist” and does not believe in identity politics. Her latest film project, the much-challenged “Roe v. Wade,” is a conservative retelling of the landmark Supreme Court case that premiered at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month in Orlando.

Still, “being a supporter of Trump has put me in some kind of box that I don’t belong in. But he’s not the president,” she said. “I’m going to give the president that we have right now a chance.”

Loading...