LOS ANGELES — Jodie Foster values privacy. But when the time calls for it, she raises her voice.
That time is now. The out actress, at a Friday rally, discussed why she is speaking out in support of civil liberties and encouraging others to do the same.
"As many of you know, I don't do this very often. I’m not somebody who feels very comfortable using my public face for activism," Foster told the crowd of over 1,000 people in Beverly Hills. "In my life, I’ve found small ways, much like most of you, to serve, and to show up, and to give somebody a lift at the bottom of the hill when they’re going to the top. I’ve always made a subtle way, a quiet way, and a personal way."
"But this year is a very different year," Foster added. "It’s time to show up. It’s a singular time in history. It's a time to engage. And as the very, very dead Frederick Douglass once said, ‘Any time is a good time for illumination,’ and this is the time for illumination. I believe this time is filled with light ... not darkness."
"It makes me so proud to see so many people engaging in the support for civil rights, in support for traditions like fairness, freedom, and empathy," she said, pointing to the the "La La Land moment" of the Women's March in Los Angeles, in which she participated and witnessed thousands demonstrating and dancing in the streets.
“It doesn’t matter where you were born, who you voted for, red or blue, whether you're white, black, or brown, or all the colors in the identity rainbow — this is our time to resist," she said. "It is our time to show up and demand answers. It’s our time to tell our elected officials to do their job.”
Foster, in her call to action, may very well have been speaking for the entertainment industry, which in past years has been hesitant to show overt displays of political activism. Yet this year, the United Talent Agency, in lieu of an extravagant party before the Academy Awards, staged a protest to "express the creative community’s support for freedom of speech and artistic expression and stand against policies of exclusion and division.”
It was a star-studded show of support. In addition to Foster, Michael J. Fox, Keegan-Michael Key, Wilmer Valderrama, as well as California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom gave remarks. Ben Harper (above) also appeared for a surprise musical performance.
However, the keystone of the event was a taped message from Asghar Farhadi. The Iranian filmmaker, whose production The Salesman is up for Best Foreign Language Film, is refusing to attend the Academy Awards due to President Trump's executive order banning refugees and travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
In response, UTA staged this rally. The agency also raised over $320,000 for nonprofits like the American Civil Liberties Union and International Rescue, according to Deadline.
"You’re going to remember where you were today and what you did,” Foster told the crowd. Watch other speakers like Fox, Newsom, and more from the rally below.