In an open letter written to the media, more than 100 high-profile celebrity supporters of environmental organization Extinction Rebellion admitted they are “hypocrites” for supporting the recent environmental protests in London, England, despite living “high carbon lives.” The letter comes after several famous faces received backlash for vocally supporting Extinction Rebellion despite landing lucrative car sponsorship deals and travelling on private jets. The letter—signed by celebrities such as vegan actor Benedict Cumberbatch, actor Jude Law, musicians Mel B and Natalie Imbruglia, and comedian Steve Coogan—reads: “Dear journalists who have called us hypocrites. You’re right. We live high carbon lives and the industries that we are part of have huge carbon footprints. Like you—and everyone else—we are stuck in this fossil-fuel economy and without systemic change, our lifestyles will keep on causing climate and ecological harm. There is, however, a more urgent story that our profiles and platforms can draw attention to. Life on Earth is dying. We are living in the midst of the sixth mass extinction.” The celebrities said they cannot ignore the call of young people such as vegan environmental activist Greta Thunberg who are demanding that those in power stand up and fight for their future. The letter asks media to focus on the more pressing issue of the climate crisis.
Since the protests began on October 7, more than 1,300 Extinction Rebellion protesters have been arrested in London. The protests are intended to raise awareness of global warming and demand action from world leaders over the climate crisis. Activists blocked off bridges and roads and set up tents across London and in other protests around the world. Additionally, the group’s dedicated animal-rights section, Animal Rebellion, camped out at London’s largest meat market, Smithfield, to protest against the meat industry’s exploitation of animals for food and its impact on the climate emergency. Protesters blockaded the market and filled the usual meat stalls with fruit and vegetables to communicate a bold vision of how Smithfield must operate in a future plant-based system. The group also protested at Billingsgate, the United Kingdom’s largest inland fish market, to shine a light on the impact of industrial fishing, which will result in fishless oceans by 2048.
Earlier this week, London’s Metropolitan Police banned protesters from holding climate change demonstrations for the rest of the week under the UK’s Public Order Act. Extinction Rebellion has since launched legal action against the police to have the ban repealed, and protesters have continued demonstrating in London despite the ban. “If standing up against the climate and ecological breakdown and for humanity is against the rules then the rules must be broken,” Thunberg posted on Twitter in support of the protesters.