Actor James Cromwell, best known for roles in such films as “Babe” and “The Green Mile,” is fresh off a seven-day jail sentence — and he’s got plenty to say about it.
The 77-year-old was arrested for defying police at an environmental sit-in protest at a power plant in Wawayanda, New York, in 2015, but he didn’t serve his sentence until last month. He could have paid a $375 fine, but chose instead to spend a few days behind bars.
Cromwell told The Daily Mail the penal system is corrupt and the prison staff had a “lack of humanity.”
“I was shocked that both the prisoners and the guards suffer from the lack of humanity and care that we assume that anyone who goes to prison deserves — even though we have over two million people in prison,” he said.
Cromwell also said the entire justice system is “corrupted,” including police forces and courts.
Despite Cromwell’s observations about the sad state of modern prisons, he said he was given special treatment while inside because he’s a celebrity.
“I had a little bit of privilege, because I’m a celebrity, so they can’t dehumanize me,” he revealed. “They have to acknowledge my celebrity, because if I get screwed over, if I get beaten, in the general population it looks really bad in the press.”
He continued, “So just by the fact that I am a celebrity and in the smallest, smallest ways they let you know you still have an identity, but for all the other people in there — the people of color, the two women who went in with me, one a 77-year-old Jewish grandmother, the other a woman of color, an Indian — no favors. No extra blanket, no towel, no telephone call.”
Cromwell, like most liberal celebrities, also couldn’t make it through an entire interview without mentioning the president. He called Donald Trump an “idiot” and said that the Left needed to start to “educate” people on the Right about environmental issues.
The actor’s strangest message, however, came when he was addressing his fellow celebrities. “This community has got to get more engaged. This community has got to get more political. More than our survival as an industry, our appropriateness is at stake. What’s really at stake is our humanity and all sentient life.”
No matter how strongly he may feel about it, his argument doesn’t seem to be based in reality. More and more people are rejecting political and preachy celebrities — just look at how the 2016 presidential election went down. Hillary Clinton was the one with the major celebrity support.
In order for Hollywood to survive and flourish, its community of creative people likely needs to do the opposite of what Cromwell is suggesting. Hollywood needs to get far less political.