In the most recent episode of ‘Jane Fonda Gets Arrested With…‘ Jane Fonda got arrested with special guest, actor, Ted Danson (and a dozen other protesters) on Capitol Hill for protesting against climate change. And while she was at it, she casually accepted a BAFTA award.
She really is an icon.
In her latest effort in her lifelong project of political activism, Fonda’s has lent her voice and influence to climate change protesters. She has taken inspo from the walking, talking trigger for Baby Boomers Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future and the Extinction Rebellion’s civil disobedience in what she’s called ‘Fire Drill Fridays‘.
For the next thirteen weeks, the 81-year-old Hollywood legend will march on the steps of Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., demanding lawmakers take action against the “existential threat” of climate change. She told the Washington Post she will “engage in civil disobedience and we’re going to get arrested every Friday.”.
I’m going to take my body, which is kind of famous and popular right now because of the [television] series and I’m going to go to D.C. and I’m going to have a rally every Friday.
Each week she will shift focus, from oil drilling, to protecting the forests, to preserving fresh water and, this latest theme, the oceans. And every Thursday evening before the march, climate scientists will participate in online teach-ins and discuss different aspects of global warming on her blog to be announced on the Fire Drill Friday Twitter.
In her first week, she was the solo celebrity in attendance. The next week she was joined by her ‘Grace and Frankie’ co-star Sam Waterston. And in the third, her “new trainee” Ted Danson called for people to “come down and get arrested with them.
Jane Fonda (and Ted Danson) are arriving at the Capitol to get arrested for the third time in her weekly climate change protests pic.twitter.com/mzil0HgnwV
— Hannah Jewell (@hcjewell) October 25, 2019
And best yet, she was awarded the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for excellence in film and delivered an acceptance speech mid-arrest.
“Thank you! I’m sorry I’m not there,” she said, raising her cuffed wrists in the air.
— BAFTA Los Angeles (@BAFTALA) October 26, 2019
The world had no choice but to stan.
Why It’s Important To Protest. Get Arrested. Repeat.
Though, yes, most of the Internet lauded Fonda for making headlines for her latest (technically, award-winning) acts of political activism, there were, of course, a few cynics in the crowd. And their primary issue was that her efforts aren’t going to damage her career.
But don’t forget that Fonda has been at this protest thing for a hot minute. She’s supported working mothers, the Black Panthers, been arrested for distributing antiwar pamphlets, and sat on an anti-aitcraft gun in North Vietnam. And that was all before she had the huge, influential platform she has today.
Getting arrested for thirteen-straight Fridays mighn’t have a career-ending impact on her.
But that’s exactly the point. And that’s why it’s so important.
Where a ‘normal’ person like you or I literally couldn’t afford to go out and get arrested and post bail thirteen times (my wallet hurts just thinking about it).
We wouldn’t be able to afford to take that much time off work; and if we did, it’s likely we would be fired.
And had we been arrested, we’d likely be fired anyway, and then be barred from a bunch of potential future job options if we had a mark our record.
Jane Fonda, Ted Danson, and Sam Waterston (and the rest of Hollywood) have all the capital in the world to make a positive mark.
They have the money. They have the influence. And they’re using it to their advantage.
And although we millennials are hardcore stanning Fonda and Danson for their chaotic energy, it’s also their very being and what it represents that’s so important.
They’re celebrities of a whole other generation, one that’s often left out of the conversation, or blamed for their damage.
My grandmother wouldn’t know who Shailene Woodley is, but she probably knows Fonda. She’d likely be too overwhelmed to take action against climate change (especially when a bunch of teens are yelling and storming city centres). It’s likely she thinks its too late for her to care.
But Fonda and Danson are showing their generation it’s important to care. They’re holding their own to account, making an effort to show up and enforce change. Which, one hopes, will inspire another segment of the public to join the chorus of climate change activists.
Just because she’s a rich celebrity doesn’t mean it’s not important. If anything it’s makes it more so.
Stay tuned for next week’s episode of ‘Jane Fonda Getting Arrested With…’ I wonder who the next special guest will be!
Image Sources: Twitter (@rollcall)