Oscar Isaac Wore an 'Atlas Shrugged’ Shirt Years Ago and the Internet Isn’t Coping Well

Oscar Isaac Wore an 'Atlas Shrugged’ Shirt Years Ago and the Internet Isn’t Coping Well
Source: AP
Source: AP

Picture this: Your new boyfriend is smart, dreamy and starring in the biggest movie of all time. Everything about him seems perfect. Then you find a photo of him wearing an Atlas Shrugged shirt.


"It was five years ago!" he claims in defense of himself. True, he's posing in front of a New York subway poster for a 2011 movie he made, so that checks out. But does that change the pain of knowing your fantasy boyfriend Oscar Isaac might be a fan of Ayn Rand?

The 2011 photo of Isaac has been making the rounds on Tumblr this week, much to the platform users' dismay. In the wake of this revelation, new discourse has erupted over whether their fave is problematic — a Tumblr meme that serves as both punchline and earnest exploration of beloved celebrities' faults.

Reactions to Isaac's apparel of choice five years ago has been particularly clamorous on both Tumblr and Twitter because Rand's Objectivist philosophy shares many tenets with modern libertarianism. For perspective, Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is a huge Rand fan. This show of would-be libertarianism on Isaac's part rubs up against Tumblr's more progressive community that, until now, saw Isaac as one of them: a man who openly questions the structures of gender in interviews.

On the one hand, 2011 was a long time ago, and only Isaac knows why he wore the shirt. Perhaps he's not a fan of Rand at all, but enjoys a healthy dollop of delicious irony?

Other Tumblr users are willing to sacrifice their ideals if it means getting randy with the potentially Randian Isaac.

However, it's important to remember that this photo has been around for years. Several fans of his panicked over the shirt long ago.

It's easy to laugh off the Tumblr dismay as merely histrionics, but it does show the complexity of being a celebrity in 2016. The past is not erasable, be it as minor as Isaac's Atlas Shrugged shirt or major as Ben Affleck's family's slave-owning history. Putting the genie back in the bottle is impossible, for the internet will find everything.

In all likelihood, the shirt will become joke fodder for Isaac in a future late-night appearance. Tumblr will laugh and fall back in love with him. Every exciting relationship has a hurdle or two; this is a minor bump the internet will surely shrug off.

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Kevin O'Keeffe

Kevin is the arts editor at Mic, writing about inclusion and representation in pop culture. He is based in New York and can be reached at kevin@mic.com.

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