‘Saudi Approved’: Street Artists Target Ed Begley Jr. Before Environmental Event

The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter

Posters mocking Ed Begley Jr. and Robert Kennedy Jr. have popped up in Hermosa Beach, California and other nearby neighborhoods ahead of the pair’s appearance at an environmental event Thursday.

The posters feature Begley and Kennedy wearing traditional Saudi Arabian head-dresses with the words “Saudi Approved” superimposed over them in big, bold letters. The background of Begley’s poster includes Arabic writing that translates to, “I love Arab oil,” while Kennedy’s poster contains the Arabic for, “Hello, ladies.”

Begley and Kennedy are scheduled to speak Thursday evening at an event fittingly titled, “Environmental Forum with Bobby Kennedy Jr. & Ed Begley Jr.” at the Hermosa Beach Community Theatre.

In an email to the Hollywood Reporter, the artists behind the posters explained their motivation.

“We’re fed up with the environmental narrative that sounds good, but is ultimately dangerous and backwards,” the artists wrote. “Characters like Begley and Kennedy claim the moral high ground without anyone questioning the damage that their politics cause to real people in the real world.”

The artists explained in their email that the pair were deserving of the poster treatment after Begley was caught up in a sting video by documentarian and journalist James O’Keefe. In the video, Begley and two filmmakers appear to agree to receive funding from Middle Eastern oil interests for a documentary film opposing fracking, the controversial oil extraction technique.

For his part, Begley told THR that he is hearing-impaired and that he did not agree to any deal with the undercover Middle Eastern “oil men;” rather, he says, he was just being polite.

“How desperate must they be to portray someone who has used precious little oil since 1970 as being pro-Saudi oil,” Begley told the outlet in response to the posters. “As for ‘Saudi Approved,’ I don’t think there’s a Saudi living who even knows who I am.”

The mocking posters are just the latest in an increasingly long list of California street art taking aim at celebrities and politicians.

In October, posters of actress Gwyneth Paltrow adorned with the phrase “Obama Drone” appeared in Brentwood ahead of a presidential fundraiser at Paltrow’s home. In June, Jane Fonda was targeted in a series of “Hanoi Jane” posters ahead of her commencement speech at UCLA film school. And before last year’s Academy Awards, posters featuring President Obama as an “Oczar” appeared in Beverly Hills.


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