Amal and George Clooney are adding their considerable power to the fight against bigotry and hate in the U.S. In a press release issued Monday, the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that the Clooneys have donated $1 million via their Clooney Foundation for Justice to the center’s fight against hate groups.
“We are proud to support the Southern Poverty Law Center in its efforts to prevent violent extremism in the United States. What happened in Charlottesville, and what is happening in communities across our country, demands our collective engagement to stand up to hate,” the new parents said in the release. SPLC President Richard Cohen added, “Like George and Amal Clooney, we were shocked by the size, ugliness, and ferocity of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville. It was a reflection of just how much Trump’s incendiary campaign and presidency has energized the radical right. We are deeply grateful to the Clooney Foundation for standing with us at this critical moment in our country’s fight against hate.”
In another statement released to Deadline, the power couple said, “Amal and I wanted to add our voice (and financial assistance) to the ongoing fight for equality. There are no two sides to bigotry and hate.”
The additional statement seems to be a pointed reference to President Donald Trump’s own statement on the clash between white supremacist groups and counter-protestors in Charlottesville earlier this month, which resulted in the death of one counter-protestor. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides,” he said on Saturday, August 13, before doubling down in the following week, telling reporters, “I think there is blame on both sides. You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”
The SPLC is a nonprofit watchdog organization that keeps a close eye on hate groups in America. “It currently tracks more than 1,600 extremist groups operating across the country, and has used litigation to win crushing court judgments against 10 major white supremacist organizations and 50 individuals who led them or participated in violent acts.” The Clooney Foundation for Justice was founded in 2016 “to advance justice in courtrooms, communities, and classrooms around the world,” according to its website. In the span of less than a year, the foundation has partnered with UNICEF to expand educational opportunities for Syrian refugees, offered support and assistance to Syrian and Yazidi refugees seeking resettlement in the U.S. and developed TrialWatch, an initiative to prevent especially susceptible courtrooms from committing human rights violations.
How Celebrities Protest in the Streets: A Visual History of George Clooney Getting Arrested, Kanye Occupying Wall Street, and More
Emma Watson attended her first-ever march when she made it to the Women’s March on Washington earlier this year—and brought along her mom, who dutifully wore a pussy hat. Though Watson is a United Nations Women Global Goodwill Ambassador and often speaks up about gender inequality, this time around, unlike the other celebs in attendance, she stayed on the streets instead of onstage, opting to yell instead of use a mic.
Muhammad Ali, who was sentenced to five years in prison and had his championship title revoked after he refused to serve in Vietnam, also protested with members of the Black Panther Party in New York in 1970.
If you couldn’t tell by the fact that he founded his eponymous nonprofit group dedicated to promoting environmental awareness at age 24, in 1998, Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s also starred in a climate change documentary and even flown commercial to his annual foundation fundraiser, is so dedicated to environmentalism, he recycled a manila folder to use as a sign when he showed up at the Climate Change March in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.
Despite the snow, Laura Dern also took part in the Park City Women’s March while at the Sundance Film Festival, regretting not being able to make it to the capital but grinning all the while.
In 2011, Kanye West and Russell Simmons both made it all the way downtown to Zuccotti Park to take a peek at Occupy Wall Street, apparently in support of the movement. “I love how sweet and tolerant he was to the crowd,” Simmons, who in fact made several appearances, later tweeted of West, who unlike Talib Kweli and Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum, refrained from performing. Simmons also spoke up for a silent, stony-faced West at the protest: “Kanye has been a big supporter spiritually for this movement … He wants to give power back to the people. That’s why we’re here.”
Before attending the Women’s March on Washington and marching arm-in-arm with Jesse Jackson, Cher attended another rally in New York a few days earlier, where she called Trump “this unbelievable narcissist” and went off about “those assholes in Washington.” “I tried not to have a potty mouth, but it’s just me, okay? You must never give up, because the thing that will help us, that will get us through this is anger,” she said in a real-life extension of her long stream of all-caps, emoji- and anger-filled tweets.
A Cate Blanchett sighting might be rare in the U.S., but the actress marched along her fellow Australians (and husband) in 2006 in the Walk Against Warming rally.
Madonna didn’t get to do too much marching at the Women’s March on Washington—she kept it mostly backstage, hanging with Gloria Steinem and Amy Schumer—but she did deliver a powerful speech to the hundreds of thousands present. “The revolution starts here,” she told the crowd, after lamenting that “it took this horrific moment of darkness to wake us the f— up.”
Here, in 1971, Jane Fonda was picketing a Safeway in Denver with the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee in protest of the chain’s lack of support for unions, but that was hardly the only time she’s taken to the streets: Starting with supporting the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panthers in the ’60s, she’s long made a name for herself as a political activist as well as an actress, to the point that she and her husband were at one point monitored by the NSA. Still getting arrested en route from an anti–Vietnam war fundraiser in Canada and infamously earning herself the nickname Hanoi Jane haven’t stopped her: She also showed up at the Women’s March on Washington earlier this year.
George Clooney was arrested—alongside his father, Nick Clooney—during a demonstration outside the Embassy of Sudan in Washington, D.C. at a rally held by Amnesty International and the nonprofit United to End Genocide to call for humanitarian aid for the thousands facing governmental violence and starvation in South Sudan in 2012. After paying his $100 fine to avoid a court appearance, Clooney, who’d recently visited Sudan, then met with President Obama to discuss the crisis.
In 2014, Alicia Keys organized a protest in New York to raise awareness about the more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls that Boko Haram had kidnapped for six months at that point, which her husband Swizz Beatz dutifully attended.
Marlon Brando joined the Congress of Racial Equality to protest an all-white housing area in Torrance, California in 1963, a full decade before he boycotted the Academy Awards and asked Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather—who asked the crowd for better treatment of Native Americans—to accept the Best Actor award for The Godfather in his place.
Before he made a splash at this year’s March for Science, Bill Nye, aka the Science Guy, showed up in a bowtie to New York’s take on the Global Climate March in 2015 to talk environmental advocacy on the steps of City Hall, as Mayor de Blasio was gearing up to head to the Paris Climate Summit.
Rarely afraid of, well, just being Miley, Miley Cyrus showed up to L.A.’s Women’s March in a smiley face-covered unitard, declaring her nonprofit the Happy Hippie Foundation’s support for fellow nonprofit Planned Parenthood while marching alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
Woody Harrelson has been arrested multiple times, but the time in 1996 that he scaled the Golden Gate Bridge with members of the group Earth First! to hang a banner in defense of redwood trees was definitely the most scene-stealing.
Last year, after a sniper killed several police officers in Dallas at a protest following police killings of two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Snoop Dogg and The Game led a peaceful march to the Los Angeles police headquarters in an effort to promote unity amongst people of color.
Susan Sarandon, Christopher Reeve, Alec Baldwin, and Robert Kennedy Jr. all got together in 1995 in favor of protecting New York City’s watershed before an EPA hearing on the safety of the city’s water.
Shailene Woodley and Rosario Dawson both protested the Dakota Access Pipeline in New York’s Union Square last summer. Woodley ultimately made it out to North Dakota in October, too—and was arrested for criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot. She pleaded guilty—and wrote a personal essay for Time saying she hoped the publicity would spur others into action.
The night before Trump’s inauguration, Cynthia Nixon joined thousands of New Yorkers and plenty more celebs outside Trump Tower to promise her continued attention to causes such as healthcare, climate change, social justice, and immigrant rights throughout the president’s term.
At the Sundance Film Festival during the Women’s March, Charlize Theron still took part in the action in Park City, Utah, carrying a banner and crying while marching alongside other celebs like Laura Dern, John Legend, and Chelsea Handler.
Back in 1996, Jesse Jackson gave Bruce Springsteen a hug at a rally opposing prop 209, which would end affirmative action based on race and gender in state and local government, in front of the Federal building on Wilshire Blvd. where Springsteen also spoke and performed.
Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Bella and Gigi Hadid, who are both not only supermodels but proudly Muslim, managed to sneak into New York’s #NoBanNoWall march in response to Trump’s moves to build a wall bordering Mexico, and to place an indefinite ban preventing Muslims from seven foreign countries from entering the U.S.
Over the years, Mark Ruffalo has spoken up—and hit the streets—in support of reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and the environment, and against fracking, with the latter to the point that he claimed in 2010 to have been placed on a terror advisory list. It’s no surprise, then, that he not only showed up at Occupy Wall Street to speak out against fracking the next year, but also just this week led a protest with Michael Moore against Donald Trump, whom he’s gotten increasingly real about, and in remembrance of Heather Heyer, who was recently murdered by white supremacists.
I Am an Immigrant: