A Hollywood actor whose most notable recent roles have seen him play military characters is defending his career choices against those who accuse him of promoting conservative political values.
John Krasinski, who rose to fame on the NBC sitcom “The Office” but has gone on to play a former Navy SEAL turned military contractor, dismissed the criticism in an Esquire interview by saying his choices have been motivated by his ties to the military.
“That narrative is certainly not the narrative I intended to put out there. When people look for something that they want to see, I can’t stop them from a subjective belief in something,” said Krasinski.
“I have 11 aunts and uncles and cousins who have been in the military or still are in the military. So it was a big thing on my list to get to do a military movie or show or something.”
The 40-year-old Krasinski portrayed the practical-joke playing salesman Jim Halpert on “The Office,” which ran from 2005 to 2013. However, since then, one of his more notable roles was as former Navy SEAL and military contractor Jack Silva in the 2016 film “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”
The film depicted the Sept. 11, 2012, attack by Islamic militants on a U.S. outpost in Libya. The attack led to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens. He was the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979.
He told Esquire that he took on the role because the story was about the individuals involved in the event, and did not intend to amplify criticism of the Obama administration.
His current role has him playing the titular CIA agent in Amazon Prime’s “Jack Ryan,” a character created by best-selling author Tom Clancy.
“As far as’Jack Ryan’ and the CIA, I always say it’s about the people,” he told Esquire. “I’ll always respect people who put their lives on the line for people like me, who they’ve never met.”
Despite his co-hosting a fundraiser for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 senatorial campaign, Krasinski has taken flak for a comment he made in November expressing pro-CIA sympathies.
“The CIA is something that we should all not only cherish, but be saying thank you for every single day,” he said.
That particular reamrk drew criticism from the left on social media.
A 2018 Buzzfeed News article, entitled “John Krasinski Wants To Play Red-State Heroes Without Getting Political,” led reporter Alison Wilmore to describe him as a “reluctant but stalwart defender of an American way of life.”
Krasinski told Esquire that his CIA support was for the rank and file men and women of the organization, not the agency as a whole.
“If you start breaking down every single CIA event, do I respect and honor all those? Of course not,” he said. “Of course not. Do you respect and honor every facet of every single president? Of course not.”