Chris Evans on his new civic engagement platform 'A Starting Point'
Chris Evans: "The majority of us, I think, are a little tired with the way politics are. The vitriol and the combative nature to it makes people become apathetic and dispassionate, and they turn away. We're all becoming bloodhounds for being lied to by omission."
Evans said that, by removing 'like' buttons and commenting from the site, the hope is that it's limiting "the type of bomb throwing you can get sometimes".
Actor Chris Evans, who famously plays Captain America on the big screen, said he launched his bipartisan civic engagement site A Starting Point because he wanted to make a bigger impact than just his large social media following would allow.
"If the things I did on social media moved the needle in a more effective way, maybe I wouldn't do this. But I thought this could be a more effective use of my platform." Chris Evans
Evans – along with his A Starting Point co-founders Mark Kassen and Joe Kiani – was interviewed by Laurie Segall, founder and CEO of Dot Dot Dot Media, during 100,000-attendee online conference Web Summit.
A Starting Point's website has three distinct sections allowing users to hear directly from politicians on both sides of the aisle. The first section, which features two-minute answers to questions about issues of the day, such as Medicaid, is the one that's fact-checked to "guarantee that it'll be air tight," Evans said.
Deliberately, there are no 'like' buttons or commenting capabilities on the site, in order to limit "the type of bomb throwing you can get sometimes from the world of trolls" and provide a place for comfort and honesty, the actor said.
The site is still evolving based around its original mission to provide a safe, neutral space for civic engagement.
"The beauty of a site versus a film... When a movie is done, it's done, and you can't make tweaks to it. This is a living organism. We're going to keep fixing this car while it's on the road," Evans said.
Speaking at Web Summit, Evans and his co-founders discussed how problematic the current media landscape and its discernible bias in coverage is. They believe that creating a site with more balanced information could get people engaged in the political landscape, especially at a divisive time in the US.
Evans said: "I would argue that we're polarised because we're exhausted...The majority of us, I think, are a little tired with the way politics are. The vitriol and the combative nature to it makes people become apathetic and dispassionate and they turn away. We're all becoming bloodhounds for being lied to by omission."
When asked if he'd run for office, Evans said he worried he'd become cynical in a hurry, and that he prefers to stay idealistic and hopeful. But he also said 'never say never'.
"When we were in DC, everyone said the good job to have in politics is mayor. That seemed to be the universal consensus," he said.