Porsha Williams, Jane Fonda and More Celebs Who've Been Arrested While Protesting
Whether they were concerned about climate change or public school funding, these stars were willing to be arrested while protesting for what they believe in
While taking a stand against racial injustice, the Real Housewives of Atlanta star was taken into police custody on July 14, 2020. The arrest happened during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police officers inside her home in March on during a botched "no-knock" search warrant.
Williams' arrest was captured on video and shared to Instagram by her fiancé, Dennis McKinley, as well as her sister, Lauren.
According to McKinley's post, Women’s March co-organizer Tamika D. Mallory, Trae tha Truth and Yandy Smith were also taken into custody by Louisville authorities, along with more than 80 others, CNN reported on Wednesday.
Williams' sister Lauren wrote in her post that the RHOA star "takes the case of #breonnataylorpersonally and she’s sacrificing work, time with her loved ones, and her comfort to make sure the offenders are held accountable for their actions."
"This is her passion, this is her purpose," she added. "God please protect them🙏🏽"
The 81-year-old actress was arrested on the steps of the United States Capitol while protesting against climate change on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.
Fonda had been open about the fact that she planned to be arrested, saying that she would be protesting for the next 14 Fridays. She told The Washington Post, "I’m going to take my body, which is kind of famous and popular right now because of the [Netflix] series [Grace and Frankie] and I’m going to go to D.C. and I’m going to have a rally every Friday."
The actress added, "It’ll be called 'Fire Drill Friday.' And we’re going to engage in civil disobedience and we’re going to get arrested every Friday."
As predicted, she was arrested again on Oct. 18, this time, reportedly, with fellow actor Sam Waterston. Before her arrest, Fonda spoke about her mission, and praised the proposed Green New Deal, an ambitious legislative undertaking to address climate change.
“This will be a huge, disruptive, super-ambitious undertaking. And yes, it’s going to cost a whole lot of money. But the cost of inaction is even huger.”
Fonda is no stranger to standing up for what she believes in: she was active in the Black Panthers in the early '70s, and famously garnered both praise and criticism over the years for her anti-Vietnam War stance.
Joaquin Phoenix & Martin Sheen
On Jan. 10, 2020, Phoenix and Sheen became the latest celebs to be arrested at Fonda's Fire Drill Friday protest, though both were released on-site.
According to EW.com, a slew of celebs have faced arrest while joining Fonda in her weekly crusades since she began in October 2019. First came Ted Danson, followed by Catherine Keener, Rosanna Arquette, June Diane Raphael, Marg Helgenberger, Piper Perabo, Amber Valletta, Diane Lane, Paul Scheer, Sally Field and Lily Tomlin.
The comedian was arrested while protesting Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination in October 2018. Schumer, who was then pregnant, was detained by officers alongside other protesters. In one video of the event, a police officer asks Schumer and another woman, "You want to be arrested?" To which Schumer responded, “Yes."
Ratajkowski was also arrested while protesting Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination. The model posted a statement to Instagram following her arrest saying, "Today I was arrested protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault. Men who hurt women can no longer be placed in positions of power. Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is a message to women in this country that they do not matter. I demand a government that acknowledges, respects and supports women as much as it does men."
The actor was arrested in 2012 for participating in a protest outside of the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C., organized to bring attention to the country’s president provoking a crisis with his blockade of humanitarian aide. Clooney was arrested alongside his father, Nick Clooney.
In a statement regarding his arrest, a rep for Clooney said, "They were protesting the violence committed by the government of Sudan on its own innocent men, women and children. They were demanding they allow humanitarian aid into the country before it becomes the largest humanitarian crisis in the world."
The Big Little Lies star was arrested in October 2016 for alleged criminal trespassing while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline on Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation. She live-streamed the arrest on Facebook.
Woodley has said of her activism, "The only way to address climate change and these radical, detrimental policies is for us, as citizens, to shift our lifestyles. People are too comfortable. We’re complacent in many ways. We need to be willing to get uncomfortable."
Sarandon was arrested, along with 218 others, in 1999 when she took part in protests at the New York City police headquarters following the police shooting of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo.
Sarandon said at the time, "If we’re not here today, then we’re saying that what happened is acceptable and normal, and I think that does a disservice to the other police. I think it’s time we focus on this issue, and racial profiling is not acceptable. I don’t think we want to be made safe at the expense of our civil liberties.”
The Sex and the City star and former New York gubernatorial candidate was arrested in 2002 outside City Hall in Lower Manhattan during a choreographed protest to demand better funding for public schools.
In 2011, Hannah was arrested in Washington, D.C., along with 100 people during a sit-in in front of the White House. The actress was amongst those protesting the expansion of a pipeline. Before her 2011 arrest, she had already been arrested previously for environmental protests.
In 2012, the Kill Bill actress was arrested again, this time in Texas while protesting the creation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The actor was arrested in 1997 after he joined an anti-logging protest on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Harrelson actually climbed the famous bridge, protesting to save a 60,000-acre redwood grove in Northern California.
"I'll take all the heat that's thrown in my direction," Harrelson said at his arraignment. "What we did was right."
He defended his actions, saying, "I spend a lot of my time in Los Angeles, where you can't breathe the air or swim in the water. We're fighting that. We're fighting for sustainable industry that does not destroy the environment."
The Jackass star was arrested in 2015 after climbing a crane at a Hollywood construction site to protest SeaWorld. While on top of the 100-ft.-tall crane, he inflated a large killer whale balloon that read "SeaWorld Sucks" and set off fireworks.
Steve-O live-streamed the happening to Facebook, later joking, "Anyone wanna bail me out of jail?"
The actress was arrested in 2012, along with seven others, after boarding a Shell-owned oil-drilling ship in New Zealand, which kept the ship from leaving port. The protesters spent 77 hours sitting atop the ship's 175-ft.-tall drilling tower.
In a statement made by the actress before her arrest, she said, "This chapter has ended, but the story of the battle to save the Arctic has just begun."