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Political celebrities: Stars who've spoken out about equal rights, gun control and more

Many celebrities use their fame to bring attention to issues they are passionate about. Whether they have made political speeches, become activists or even ran for office, here are some of the most political celebrities.

Amy Schumer: Gun control

After a mass shooting during a screening of
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jemal Countess

After a mass shooting during a screening of Amy Schumer's movie "Trainwreck" in Lafayette, Louisiana, on July 23, 2015, the actress teamed up with her cousin Sen. Chuck Schumer to call on Congress to pass improved gun-safety legislation.

At the Glamour Women of the Year awards in November 2015, Schumer also addressed her advocacy, saying, "If you've been convicted of domestic violence or if you're severely mentally ill, I don't think you should be able to get a gun."

Leonardo DiCaprio: The environment

In his Oscar acceptance speech on Feb. 28,
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jemal Countess

In his Oscar acceptance speech on Feb. 28, 2016, actor Leonardo DiCaprio called on viewers to recognize climate change. "Climate change is real, it is happening right now," he said. "It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating."

DiCaprio also founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to promote the protection of the environment, and he spoke at the Paris Agreement for Climate Change signing at the United Nations on April 22, 2016.

Emma Watson: Women's rights

As a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Astrid Stawiarz

As a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson has fought for women's rights and gender equality. She has been a major advocate for the UN's "HeForShe" campaign, an international effort to make gender equality a reality in every country.

"I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts," she said in a speech announcing the campaign in September 2014. "I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights."

Jon Stewart: 9/11 first responders

Comedian Jon Stewart has been a strong advocate
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

Comedian Jon Stewart has been a strong advocate for the Zadroga Act, which created the World Trade Center Health Program to provide testing and treatment for 9/11 first responders.

He is credited for bringing attention to the Senate Republicans filibustering the bill in December 2010, by speaking with four 9/11 first responders on an episode of "The Daily Show." The bill was passed on Dec. 22, 2010, shortly after his show aired, but it expired on Oct. 1, 2015.

Stewart lobbied for the extension of the act in Washington D.C., and returned to an episode of "The Daily Show" in December 2015 to make a plea to Congress to pass the act again.

Angelina Jolie: Refugees

Angelina Jolie has been an advocate for refugees
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images

Angelina Jolie has been an advocate for refugees around the world since 2000 when she filmed "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," in Cambodia. She began working with the United Nations as a goodwill Ambassador at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and was promoted to Special Envoy to the High Commissioner in 2012.

In April 2015, she delivered a speech to the United Nations Security council about the refugees in Syria. She had made visits to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Malta to visit refugees.

"We cannot look at Syria, and the evil that has arisen from the ashes of indecision, and think this is not the lowest point in the world's inability to protect and defend the innocent," she said.

John Legend: Racial justice

After winning an Oscar with Common for their
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevin Winter

After winning an Oscar with Common for their song "Glory" in "Selma" in 2015, John Legend called out the "struggle for justice" in America.

"We know that the voting rights -- the act -- that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today," he said. "We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850."

Legend was also an executive producer of the documentary "Southern Rites," about race in Montgomery County, Georgia, where proms had been segregated until 2010.

Viola Davis: Race

In her Emmy Award acceptance speech, Viola Davis
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mark Davis

In her Emmy Award acceptance speech, Viola Davis called out the lack of roles for African-American women. "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity," she said. "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there."

She also quoted Harriet Tubman, saying "In my mind, I see a line, and over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers, and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can't seem to get there no-how, I can't seem to get over that line." She then thanked women like Kerry Washington, Halle Berry and Gabrielle Union for helping African-American women cross that line.

Jared Leto: LGBT rights

In his Oscar acceptance speech in 2014, Jared
Photo Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

In his Oscar acceptance speech in 2014, Jared Leto finished with a message to the LGBT community. "And to those of you who have ever felt injustice because of who you are and who you love, I stand here in front of the world with you and for you."

In the speech, he also recognized the "36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS," and "all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say we are here, and as you struggle to make your dreams happen and live the impossible, we are thinking of you tonight."

Patricia Arquette: Equal pay

In her Oscar acceptance speech in 2015, Patricia
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian

In her Oscar acceptance speech in 2015, Patricia Arquette called for equal pay. "To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America."

Arquette attended a United Nations event shortly after that, promoting the UN campaign, "Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality."

Sean Penn: LGBT rights

In his Oscar acceptance speech in 2009, Sean
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian

In his Oscar acceptance speech in 2009, Sean Penn called out people who had voted for Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage in California.

"I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support," he said. "We've got to have equal rights for everyone."

Halle Berry: Race

Halle Berry became the first African-American woman to
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jonathan Leibson

Halle Berry became the first African-American woman to win the Best Actress Oscar in 2002. In her speech she said, "This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It's for the women who stand beside me: Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox, and it's for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened."

Jeffrey Tambor: Transgender community

Jeffrey Tambor won an Emmy for his portrayal
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Alberto E. Rodriguez

Jeffrey Tambor won an Emmy for his portrayal of a transgender man in "Transparent." In his speech, he said was given the "opportunity to act because people's lives depend on it."

"I'd like to dedicate my performance and this award to the transgender community," he said. "Thank you for your patience, thank you for your courage, thank you for your stories, thank you for your inspiration, thank you for letting us be part of the change."

Kerry Washington: Equal rights

In a speech at the 26th Annual GLADD
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jason Kempin

In a speech at the 26th Annual GLADD Media Awards in March 2015, Kerry Washington made clear her advocacy for LGBT rights, as well as human rights for everyone.

"There are people in this world who have the full rights of citizenship, ... and then, there are those of us who to varying degrees, do not," she said. "We don't have equal access to education, to health care, and some other basic liberties like marriage, a fair voting process, fair hiring practices."

"There is so much power in storytelling, and there is enormous power in inclusive storytelling, in inclusive representations," she said. "That is why the work of GLAAD is so important. We need more LGBT representation in the media ... We need more diverse LGBT representation."

Michael Moore: The Iraq War

Director Michael Moore denounced President George W. Bush
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Monica Schipper

Director Michael Moore denounced President George W. Bush and the Iraq War shortly after it began in his 2003 Oscar acceptance speech. "We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president," he said. "We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons."

"We are against this war, Mr. Bush," he added. "Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up."

Oprah Winfrey: Racial equality

Oprah Winfrey made a speech on the 50th
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Ben Gabbe

Oprah Winfrey made a speech on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in 2013. "As the bells of freedom ring today, we're hoping that it's a time for all of us to reflect on not only the progress that has been made -- and we've made a lot -- but on what we have accomplished and also on the work that still remains before us," she said.

Following the release of "The Butler," Winfrey more bluntly said there is still much to be done to achieve racial equality. "As long as people can be judged by the color of their skin, the problem is not solved," she said.

Winfrey is also credited for helping President Barack Obama gain popularity when she endorsed him before the 2008 primary elections.

Scarlett Johansson: Public services

In 2012, Scarlett Johansson made a speech at
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Alex Wong

In 2012, Scarlett Johansson made a speech at the Democratic National Convention to encourage young Americans to vote. She said she was there as "a representative of the millions of young Americans, particularly young women, who depend on public and nonprofit programs to help them survive."

"I grew up with four siblings, my father barely made enough to get by, we moved every year and we finally settled in a housing development for lower-middle income families," she said. "We went to public schools and depended on programs for school transport and lunches, as did most of my friends. My girlfriends from high school to this day, still depend on Planned Parenthood and often Medicaid for important health care services."

She asked that people make the commitment to vote and made clear that she supported President Barack Obama.

Clint Eastwood: Unemployment

Clinton Eastwood famously gave a speech at the
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Clinton Eastwood famously gave a speech at the Republican National Convention in 2012, where he spoke to an empty chair, pretending that President Barack Obama was sitting it in. He said he had some questions for the president, beginning with how he hasn't kept the promises he made when he first campaigned for the presidency.

"There's 23 million unemployed people in this country. That is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace, and we haven't done enough obviously," he said. "When somebody does not do the job, we gotta let 'em go."

He also criticized Obama for his positions on Guantanamo Bay and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying he has changed his policies.

Eastwood was also the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, for one term beginning in 1986, and in 2001, he served on the California State Park and Recreation Commission.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Government accountability

When Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor of California
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevin Lee

When Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor of California in 2003 and 2004, one of his primary policy points was that the government was not accountable to the people. "The biggest problem that we have is that California is being run now by special interests," he said when he announced his candidacy on the "Jay Leno Tonight Show." "As you know, I don't need to take any money from anybody. I have plenty of money myself. I will make the decisions for the people."

He served as the state governor for two terms. He has also promoted health and fitness around the country and served as the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under President George H. W. Bush.

Lizz Winstead: Reproductive rights

Comedian and co-creator of
Photo Credit: Getty Images / D Dipasupil

Comedian and co-creator of "The Daily Show," Lizz Winstead founded a advocacy group called Lady Part Justice that uses comedy to promote women's reproductive rights. "Our name is an homage to Lisa Brown, a former Michigan state rep who when in office was banned from the statehouse floor for using the word vagina when arguing against a transvaginal ultrasound bill. When she asked what she SHOULD say they suggested something less provocative like 'lady parts,'" the mission statement reads. "The offensive nature of men uncomfortable with the word vagina, but perfectly comfortable legislating it, inspired us to use it as our name." The group also created the app Hinder, which allows users to swipe left or right on a pictures of politicians based on if they agree with their quotes about women and their reproductive rights.

Sarah Silverman: Abortion

Comedian Sarah Silverman teamed up with Lady Parts
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevin Winter

Comedian Sarah Silverman teamed up with Lady Parts Justice to make a video promoting women's reproductive rights. In the video, published in 2014, Silverman criticizes states where it has become harder to access safe abortions.

"Using religion to dictate legislation is un-American, but it's happening," she said.

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