Though she doesn’t even have a verified account or more than 5,000 followers, on Sunday, Leslie Cockburn, the Democratic nominee for Congress for Virginia’s 5th District, posted such an inflammatory, attention-grabbing tweet that by Monday, the nation’s political news cycle had somehow become dominated by the phrase “Bigfoot erotica.” Now seemingly everywhere, the hitherto unheard of phrase stems from Cockburn’s claims that her Republican opponent, Denver Riggleman, is a devotee of the genre. Which, by the way, actually does exist and is exactly what it sounds like—pornographic and suggestive material centered around the hairy, mythical creature. (If your’e so inclined, you can see an example via Cockburn’s tweet below, and a bit more graphic one here.)
There are plenty more serious sides to this congressional race, but before diving into those, let’s start with a bit of a palette cleanser. Amidst all of the hoopla, yet another odd detail seems to have gotten buried—that Cockburn just so happens to be the mother of Olivia Jane Cockburn, better known as the actress Olivia Wilde.
As Wilde has made a name for herself, starring in the TV show House and more recently in the new Broadway produciton of 1984 that had audience members fainting—Jennifer Lawrence actually vomited (though she was ill)—she’s also gotten increasingly involved in politics, including campaigning for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, teaming up with Time’s Up, marching in the streets to protest the Trump administration, and speaking out about Harvey Weinstein. None of that is exactly surprising, given that her parents, Leslie and Andrew Cockburn, are both journalists, and Leslie announced that she’d be pivoting from documentary-making and investigative journalism to politics in July 2017. (The Democratic Party gave approval of her bid for Congress by nominating her this past May.)
Still, it’s a bit hard to wrap one’s head around the idea of Wilde being at all involved in something this strange. And yet, here we are, thanks to Cockburn’s discoveries, made while scrolling through Riggleman’s social media posts of yore. They just so happened to include several posts related to a book that he apparently self-published, which, according to his reportedly recently deleted Facebook author page, was titled The Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him.
Riggleman doesn’t deny his involvement with the book, or the cover art illustration that can be seen below—an image featuring genitalia that Cockburn censored and shared with the phrase “This is not what we need on Capitol Hill.” He does, however, have some issues with the way they’ve been construed: On Monday morning, he told the Washington Post that his team has been “stunned” by the claims of his interest in erotica involving Bigfoot (for the record, he said he does not believe Bigfoot is real).
Riggleman did, however, concede that he’s written an “anthropological book sort of based on parody and satire” that’s been a running joke with “a bunch of military pals” for the past 14 years, some of which have seen him engaged in a years-long Bigfoot belief study. (One of his artist pals, he said, drew the book cover.) On the other hand, when he described his interest to the quite fittingly titled outlet the Daily Beast, he seemed to do so quite seriously, even while noting it was a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy–like parody: “For me, the book really is an anthropological study…this is a real subculture in the United States and it’s hundreds of thousands of people that believe.”
Whether or not the book will be released emains to be seen, though in the meantime, those interested can take a look at a 2006 short story, Bigfoot Exterminators Inc: The Partially Cautionary, Mostly True Tale of Monster Hunt, which Riggleman cowrote, and which apparently touches on matters like menstrual blood and Bigfoot’s libido. And in case you weren’t nauseous enough, the drama has also shined a spotlight on Riggleman’s previous stint on the campaign trail with Isaac Smith, a cofounder of the white supremacist group Unity & Security for America.
Wilde, for her part, has yet to comment on anything Riggleman-related. Here’s hoping she’ll manage to wriggle out of this mess unscathed.
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.