Does Jane Fonda care about the environment? Or is this a publicity stunt?

imgThis question follows the virtual climate protest with Fonda on Friday, April 3rd. Fonda has been attending weekly protests known as Fire Drill Fridays in Washington DC for a number of months now. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the organisation has decided to move protests online to keep supporters safe.

Jane Fonda is a well-known American model, actress, fitness instructor, and political activist. Within the last 12 months, Fonda has begun protesting on behalf of the climate alongside the Fire Drill Fridays organisation. Fire Drill Fridays are campaigning the U.S. government for 3 things:

To introduce a new green deal,

To halt all new coal, oil and gas investments and infrastructure and ban fossil fuel projects,

Phase-out existing fossil fuel projects and transition to a renewable energy economy.

Picture1Fire Drill Fridays have begun holding weekly protests that Jane Fonda has frequently attended. At these protests, Fonda is often arrested whilst smiling, which is where many have questioned her motives. Fonda is a wealthy and famous woman, who can be arrested and afford to pay bail. Many others would lose their job, housing or stability if they were to be arrested for protesting. Thus Fonda’s actions have been labelled as performative and cry’s for attention. A lot of this controversy arose in late October when Fonda accepted her Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film whilst being arrested.

However, Fonda has also been called a hero, legend and a feminist icon for bringing the Picture2media’s attention to the climate debate. Celebrities’ involvement in politics is often passive, meaningless or just to advance themselves. Yet, this can’t be said for Fonda who has been politically active all her life. Her mug shot from protesting against the Vietnam war is one of the most iconic celebrity mug shots. Fonda has been vilified by right-wing figureheads but has never reacted to criticism or feared her activism would harm her career.

Jane Fonda has used her position in society to enhance the attention given to social issues. Fire Drill Fridays wouldn’t be known about if it wasn’t for her. Her acts are performative and their purpose is to draw attention to herself as they also draw attention to the cause.

Screen shot from the virtual protestsSince the coronavirus outbreak, the climate debate has been quiet. This is understandable. However, Jane Fonda and Fire Drill Fridays hosted an online protest on Friday, April 3rd which resulted in technical difficulties due to the number of people who tried to join. Thus it’s clear that Jane Fonda has brought a lot of positive attention to the cause.

Many are still unimpressed at celebrity involvement in politics. But you can’t doubt the purity and good intentions of Jane Fonda’s involvement in climate protest.

I spoke about Fonda’s activism in our show in November. The segment starts at 7:15: https://soundcloud.com/thepoliticshour2018/international-politics-hour-show-5

More information about Fire Drill Fridays can be found at their website: https://firedrillfridays.com/

Written by Rachael Hughes

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