Earlier this month, the actress Rose McGowan broke 20 years of what appears to have been a nondisclosure agreement-enforced silence to accuse Harvey Weinstein, the former Hollywood mogul whom more than 50 women, including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, have recently alleged sexually harassed or assaulted them, of rape. (In a tweet @-ing the billionaire Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, no less.)
In fact, as the accusations against Weinstein have sickeningly continued to roll in, McGowan’s Twitter account has proven the best way to stay up to date with the scandal—and the most satisfying, for her outspoken statements that keep the character count to a minimum, like “Ben Affleck f— off.”
Yet while McGowan has been unmissable online—except for that time Twitter temporarily banned her—she’s been, quite understandably, missing in-person and on-screen; she cancelled an appearance at a film festival that was awarding her last week, citing “compounding factors surrounding recent revelations in the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment case.”
But Weinsteins of the world, be warned: All that’s changing in the next 24 hours or so, as the organizers of the Women’s March—aka the largest one-day protest in American history—have tapped McGowan to “bring her special brand of fire to help kick off” their Women’s Convention in Detroit, which begins tomorrow with McGowan’s opening remarks to thousands of “women, femmes and our allies of all backgrounds” who’ll perhaps manifest into a real-life #ROSEARMY, as McGowan has been cataloging her crusade for the truth about abuse, by the time the three-day convention comes to its end on Sunday.
It’s perhaps the best possible outcome after Bernie Sanders dropped out from delivering the opening remarks just a week ago, after he and the event’s organizers were criticized for tapping a man to open a convention dedicated to women’s rights. (Sanders has opted to spend the weekend in Puerto Rico, meeting with San Juan’s mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz about the island’s continued crisis.)
McGowan will join the actress Ashley Judd, one of the first women to accuse Weinstein, as one of nearly 50 speakers, a list that includes many alums from the Women’s March in January, from Scarlett Johansson and America Ferrera to Angela Davis, Cecile Richards, Gloria Steinem, Janet Mock, and Michael Moore. Each will contribute to the “workshops, strategy sessions, inspiring forums and intersectional movement building to continue the preparation going into the 2018 midterm elections” that make up the convention, including panels like “Asian American Women in Politics,” “How to Organize a Protest/Rally in Less Than 24 Hours,” “Confronting Anti-Semitism and White Supremacy,” and “Fighting for Survivors of Sexual Assault in the Age of Betsy DeVos,” the latter of which McGowan will be participating in.
Weinstein, who’s reportedly still hidden away in rehab off in Arizona, will no doubt be keeping watch; he may have chosen to extend his stay at the facility from just a week to a month, but the repeated rumors that he’s been breaking the rules by using his phone—not to mention falling asleep in class—seem to true, since he managed to release another unconvincing statement when Lupita Nyong’o joined the army of women accusing him of misconduct in an op-ed for the New York Times. (Though it does like he has made a teensy bit of progress since heading off to rehab: At least he’s stopped including fabricated Jay Z lyrics in his defenses.)
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.
Meet the Women Who Made History as the Organizers of the Women’s March on Washington: