Captain Kirk made a living fending off monsters from outer space, but his latest fight is a political one.
William Shatner, the actor who played Kirk on “Star Trek,” is trying to thwart a Texas politician he says tried to co-opt his image in a political message.
Brandy K. Chambers, a Democrat running for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives, included a copy of an autographed photo of herself with Shatner in a recent campaign newsletter.
“If you think a grown woman going to Comic-Con and getting geeked out when she sees Captain Kirk is not what you want in a leader, that’s fine, too,” the newsletter said. “I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not for everybody.”
Chambers, who is hoping to unseat Republican Angie Chen for the seat that represents parts of Garland, Richardson and Sachse, was writing to let the electorate to know that, no matter what, she’s going to be herself. Shatner certainly didn’t appreciate the move and tweeted his disapproval at her personal account.
“Hey @winemind17 using a convention picture in a political ad is NOT ALLOWED!!” Shatner tweeted in response to a Twitter follower who alerted him to the photo. “That implies endorsement which will never happen. Please remove my photo and destroy all copies of whatever this is immediately. Am I clear?”
Shatner’s tweet also mentioned the account for the Texas Ethics Commission, which enforces Texas laws concerning political advertising. He later tweeted at Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, asking whether the AG’s office looks into “political brochures that use a person’s image as implied endorsements.”
The portion of the state election code that relates to political advertising does not specifically rule on the legality of using a celebrity’s image in campaign newsletters or other material, though.
Chamber has apologized to Shatner from her campaign’s Twitter account. The apology also reaffirms that Shatner does not endorse her.
Shatner, a Canadian-born actor who has done all he can to not comment on his own political views, previously deflected questions about characterizations of the potential political leanings of the fictitious Kirk. When U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas suggested in an interview with New York Times Magazine in 2015 that Captain Kirk was probably conservative, Shatner tweeted in response that “Star Trek” was not meant to be a political vehicle.
But he also criticized “social justice warriors” on Twitter in July 2017, leading some to believe Shatner leans to the right politically.