Actor and activist James Cromwell insists that Hollywood actors and actresses must get more involved in politics and rails against the American justice system and President Donald Trump in an interview released this week.
“Martin Sheen would do it, Ed Asner would do it. There are a lot of people if push came to shove,” Cromwell said in an extensive interview with the Daily Mail. “This community has got to get more engaged. This community has got to get more political. More than our survival as an industry, our appropriateness is at stake. What’s really at stake is our humanity and all sentient life.”
In a rant against Trump, Cromwell called the president an “idiot” and said politics won’t matter if the planet is destroyed by climate change and our dependance on fossil fuels.
“It’s very easy to vilify an idiot who happens to be the President of the United States, but it doesn’t solve the problem,” the Oscar-nominated actor said. “We have to educate people. We have to educate people on the right.”
“We can’t demonize people because of their political stance. We have to say: “Look, it won’t matter ultimately whether you’re Republican, radical right, or progressive,” he added. “All that will matter is that we’re able to drink the water, breathe the air, live on the land. That’s what’s threatened.”
In June, the veteran actor was sentenced to a week in jail stemming from a 2015 arrest during a power plant protest in New York, the Times-Herald Record reports.
“We did everything possible…nothing helps, because there is no interface between an ordinary citizen and the state. You have to go through gatekeepers,” Cromwell said of the power plant protest.
“If people don’t know that the whole process is corrupted, obviously people now know that the police forces are corrupted. Do they know that their courts are corrupted? Do they know that their law is corrupted?” Cromwell said, speaking publicly for the first time since being cited for trespassing last month at SeaWorld in San Diego over a PETA protest against what the actor called the horrific treatment of orca whales.
— World Animal News (@WorldAnimalNews) July 26, 2017
Lamenting the lack of media attention his protests have garnered, the 77-year-old star said “And the only way to get the attention of the media, which is what gets our issue across, because if you tell a politician, it dies right there; the only way to get across is to get arrested. Even when we were arrested: no publicity.”
“Even when we were found guilty: no publicity. But when celebrities go to jail, wow, it’s a story suddenly,” he added.
Cromwell told the outlet that his one-week jail sentence taught him how inhumane the American prison system is.
“I was shocked that both the prisoners and the guards suffer from the lack of humanity and care that we assume that anyone who goes to prison deserves – even though we have over two million people in prison,” Cromwell said.
The American Horror Story: Asylum star also said he now understands the type of racal profiling a “privileged white person” only learns about after they are imprisoned.
‘I had a little bit of privilege, because I’m a celebrity, so they can’t dehumanize me,” he said. “They have to acknowledge my celebrity, because if I get screwed over, if I get beaten, in the general population it looks really bad in the press,” the actor said of his prison stay.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson