It’s been more than 25 years since actor and activist James Cromwell played one of his most indelible roles, kind farmer Arthur Hoggett on ‘Babe’, but he’s both an animal lover and an advocate for their rights for even longer.
At Friday night’s 23rd annual gala for Mercy for Animals — dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices — Cromwell received the organization’s Hope Award for his unwavering commitment to the furry and feathered causes, a dedication that has often seen him end up in handcuffs following his passionate protests. He was celebrated with other winners: author and content creator Joanne L. Molinaro, aka the Korean vegan, and influential vegan chef Babette Davis.
“[My arrest record] really isn’t that bad,” Cromwell said Variety with a chuckle as he arrived at the gala at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, saying his experiences of being booked and photographed were well worth raising awareness and challenging unnecessarily cruel institutions, often in concert with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
“We have been stopped several times and it seems to make a difference. It wouldn’t be as fun if it wasn’t,” the 82-year-old Oscar nominee added. “And there’s progress going on, which is a counterpoint to the desperation and grief you feel about what you mostly see around us, which is obliviousness, cruelty and abuse.”
Cromwell raised his hand to illustrate his advantage when the authorities put him down. “It’s the club: the beautiful white skin,” he explained, noting that he believes his whiteness proved to be a shield against overtreatment during his arrest, rarely encountering a threat of violence. – but not never.
“One of the first times we did it, the cops, they were pissed at us because there was a funeral for a cop at the same time and they thought we planned it on purpose,” a- he revealed. “So when he put the handcuffs on me he really anchored them and then he put me on the plastic seat in the back and your hands are [behind you] and there’s no room for my knees, so you’re pushed against the back of the seat with your handcuffs, it hurts like my son of a bitch!
But Cromwell isn’t afraid to risk a little pain: Earlier this year, he stuck his hand to the counter of a Starbucks in Manhattan to protest the high cost of the coffee megalith surcharge for plant-based milk. .
“It wasn’t painful at all – it was as easy as a piece of cake: I just squirted it, put my hand in it,” he shrugged. “Acetone probably isn’t the best thing to put on your skin… Took about 10 minutes to come down.”
“The real weird thing about it was that not only was I glued and sitting on the counter, but I was at the top of my voice — not shouting, but at the top of my voice explaining why we were doing it,” said he added. . “People came in and, except for a moment, nobody looked at me or said, ‘Oh, he’s a famous guy. Or, ‘What is he doing? What is it against? It just shows you how docile and unimaginative you are and always want to think, “My little cocoon protects me from everything, so I’m not going to stick my nose out because I might get it cut off.” Which is a shame.”
Meanwhile, when not under arrest, Cromwell is still thrilled to periodically appear on HBO’s “Succession” in his Emmy-nominated role as the single-principled Uncle Ewan of the family. wild Roy.
“I would love to do more, because I think the show — personally, my opinion — needs the balance from another effective standpoint,” he said. “But mostly I’m happy with the guy and what he stands for…I said to Hernandez Jesse [Armstrong], I can’t become a jerk. He has principles. Yes, it is hard. Yes, he is part of the family. Yes, it is privileged. But he has a moral compass, which no one seems to have or care about. And I appreciate that.
. James Cromwell speaks of rights of animals gala Mercy Animals