During an interview released this week, actor and activist James Cromwell insisted actors and actresses in Hollywood needed to be more involved in politics.
“Martin Sheen would do it, Ed Asner would do it. There are a lot of people if push came to shove,” said Cromwell during 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.”
Cromwell also called President Trump an idiot while claiming that politics would not matter if the planet was destroyed by climate change.
“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 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,” Cromwell 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.”
Cromwell also talked about the time he was arrested for protesting a power plant in 2015. He spent a week in jail for the incident.
“We did everything possible…nothing helps because there is no interface between an ordinary citizen and the state. You have to go through gatekeepers,” he said of the protest. He was also cited for trespassing after a PETA protest against, what he called, the horrific treatment of orca whales.
“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?” he said while speaking publicly for the first time after the Seaworld protest.
“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,” he claimed. “Even when we were found guilty: no publicity. But when celebrities go to jail, wow, it’s a story suddenly.”
According to the actor, the week he spent in jail opened his eyes to how inhumane the American prison system was.
“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,” he said.
“I had a little bit of privilege, because I’m a celebrity, so they can’t dehumanize me,” he explained. “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.”