8 June 1949
FBI Report Identifies Influential Americans as Communists
The hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and especially the case of Alger Hiss, had convinced many Americans that communists had managed to infiltrate deep into U.S. society. Therefore when, on June 8, 1949, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a report that listed a number of prominent individuals—mostly in the entertainment industry—were members of the Communist Party, the country was quick to take notice. Among those named in the report were the Hollywood stars Edward G. Robinson, Frederic March, and Danny Kaye, the singer Paul Robeson, and the writers Helen Keller and Dorothy Parker.

Based largely on accusations made by “confidential informants,” the report claimed that the Communist Party had been using these individuals, whose celebrity status gave them a degree of influence over public opinion, to advance their agenda. Edward G. Robinson, who had made his movie career playing tough guys, responded by saying “These rantings, ravings, accusations, smearing, and character assassinations can only emanate from sick, diseased minds of people who rush to the press with indictments of good American citizens. I have played many parts in my life, but no part have I played better or been more proud of than that of being an American citizen.”