It was in front of a crowded audience at the Ace Hotel in May that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti demanded an embarrassing confession from former Obama speechwriter turned political podcaster Jon Lovett: The Man of 34-year-old did not vote in the LA municipal election held on May 16.
To be fair, less than 9% of registered voters turned out that day, and the city has long struggled with widespread voter apathy. But given that politics and activism are supposed to be Lovett’s business, it seemed dignified by the public and prompted Mayor Garcetti to give Lovett a harsh, if still friendly, conversation about his civic delinquency.
But chances are you haven’t heard of this.
That’s because apart from the few hundred people inside the Ace Theater that night, you couldn’t have had it for one simple reason: it was edited from the final cut that was released. Since the launch of Lovett Pod Save America in January with former White House aides Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor, it quickly became one of the nation’s most popular political podcasts, regularly generating six-figure downloads.
Oddly enough, during an exchange with Garcetti about the evils of LAX that made the final version, Lovett jokes that he was going to “cut that part”. What people didn’t know at the time was that he wasn’t kidding.
“I don’t live in the city of LA, I live in West Hollywood. I was therefore unable to vote on the measure of the ballot or on one of the municipal council races. This is why I was confused about this. What I missed, and what I’m embarrassed that I missed, was a vote in a school board race. That’s what was on the ballot where I live. I will do better not to miss local races like this. I will never apologize for the selective editing to make myself look better, ”Lovett said in an email to The Hollywood reporter.
A version of this story first appeared in the June 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
June 22, 12:55 p.m .: Updated with a statement from Jon Lovett.