These Celebrities Were Arrested While Fighting for What They Believe In

When celebrities get arrested, it’s typically for crimes like domestic abuse, driving under the influence, or possession of an illegal substance. But some celebrities are arrested for much more noble reasons. Throughout history, few celebrities have been arrested while protesting or standing up for what they believe in. Standing side-by-side with everyday citizens, they want their voices to be heard, and they want to use their celebrity status and influence to draw attention to issues. While they’re rarely thrown behind bars for long, they’re still willing to face the consequences to fight for what they believe in. Step across the police barrier and see the celebrities that have had their hands cuffed while standing up for reasons near and dear to their heart.

Shailene Woodley Was Arrested While Protesting The Dakota Access Pipeline

Alex Wong / Staff

On October 10, 2016, actress Shailene Woodley was arrested for alleged criminal trespassing while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline on Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation. She began protesting not long after the United State’s Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the tribe’s request to stop the construction of the pipeline.

After her release, Woodley’s representative released a statement saying, "Shailene Woodley has been released from the Morton County Jail in North Dakota. She appreciates the outpouring of support, not only for her but more importantly, for the continued fight against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline."

James Cromwell Has Been Arrested Multiple Times

Robert Visser/Getty Images

James Cromwell — known for roles in Star Trek and The Green Mile — isn’t new to facing legal troubles due to protesting. His first arrest was in 2013 while he was protesting experiments on cats at the University of Wisconsin. He was released soon after, but he proved his point that he was willing to go to jail in the name of fighting against animal cruelty.

He was then arrested in 2015 while protesting a power plant in New York. During the protest, he handcuffed himself to two other individuals and was charged with alleged disorderly conduct. He was set to appear in court in January, although the result of his charges was never released

Susan Sarandon Won’t Stand For Racial Profiling

Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images

In 1999, actress Susan Sarandon was arrested with over 200 people in New York while protesting the shooting of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant. On her arrest, Sarandon opened up to People, proclaiming, “If we’re not here today, then we’re saying that what happened is acceptable and normal, and I think that does a disservice to the other police.”

She went on to say, “I think it’s time we focus on this issue, and racial profiling is not acceptable. I don’t think we want to be made safe at the expense of our civil liberties.” Little did Sarandon know this issue would only increase in the coming decades.

Steve-O Was Arrested and Fined For His Antics

Imgur / Araya Diaz / Stringer

While Steve-O may be best known from his tomfoolery on the show Jackass,since getting sober in 2008, Steve-O has turned his attention and energy to other things. One of these things is making a very bold protest against SeaWorld. In August 2015, Steve-O was arrested after climbing a 100-foot crane and inflating a giant Shamu balloon that had the words “SeaWorld Sucks” written on it.

He even shot off fireworks to get people’s attention. He was sentenced to jail for 30 days although he only serves eight due to overcrowding of the facilities. He was required to pay the city of Los Angeles $14,000 although he was unfazed by his punishment.

See which celebrity scaled the Golden Gate Bridge to make a point.

Lucy Lawless Has a Very Appropriate Last Name

Steve Mack/FilmMagic

In February 2012, former Xena the Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless was arrested along with five other Greenpeace activists while protesting oil drilling on an arctic ship. The group illegally boarded the ship in an attempt to prevent it from leaving on an oil-drilling expedition.

While the protesters could have just been charged with “unlawfully being on a ship,” the judge also charged them with burglary although nothing was stolen or damaged. Lawless plead guilty, and she, along with the other occupiers, were ordered to pay $547 each and serve 120 hours of community service.

Woody Harrelson Scaled The Golden Gate Bridge In Protest

Mark Downey Lucid Images/Corbis via Getty Images

In 1996, a group of environmentalists, including Woody Harrelson, scaled the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. They did so in protest to protect a 60,000-acre ancient redwood grove in Northern California. There were up to nine protesters who made it on top of the bridge around 9 a.m., causing an all-day traffic jam.

Although he didn’t intend to cause a traffic jam, he did end up giving his signs and banners to passing motorists and pedestrians. Before climbing down from his 200-foot perch, he proclaimed that "I shamelessly and proudly call myself a tree hugger."

You’ll never guess which celebrity was arrested with their father.

Amy Schumer Definitely Does Not Believe Kavanaugh

Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

In October 2018, actress and comedian Amy Schumer, along with 300 other people, were arrested at a protest against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Washington D.C. The Capitol police claimed that 293 protesters were arrested at the Hart Senate Office Building atrium, with nine being arrested at a demonstration on the fourth floor of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

All those who were arrested were done so under the charges of overcrowding, obstructing, or incommoding, all misdemeanors. Actress Emily Ratajkowski was also among those arrested and took to Twitter about the meaning behind their protest.

Cynthia Nixon Takes Public School Funding Very Seriously

Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

In May 2002, former Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon was arrested outside of City Hall in Lower Manhattan during a choreographed although legitimate protest to demand more funding for public schools. After seeing the effects of financial cuts at her daughter’s own school, she began working with the organization called the Alliance for Quality Education.

Nixon and eleven others were arrested and taken to the First Precinct house where they were given summons and then released. Nixon and the other protesters had blocked the entrance to City Hall and sang "We Shall Not Be Moved," until they were forcefully moved and arrested.

George Clooney Was Arrested Alongside His Father

Win McNamee/Getty Images

In March 2012, George Clooney and his father were arrested during a protest outside of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington D.C. Not long before his arrest, he was interviewed on CNN where he explained the purpose of the protest. He claimed that "We need humanitarian aid to be allowed into Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world [and] for the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women, and children […] That’s all we ask."

After refusing to leave for the third time, Clooney, his father, and other protesters were arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.

See which actor has been arrested for peaceful protesting 68 times!

Daryl Hannah Has No Problem Being Arrested

Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Much like James Cromwell, Daryl Hannah is no newbie when it comes to being arrested for making her voice heard. She has been arrested twice while protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. The first was in 2012 while protesting in Texas. She was charged with alleged trespassing and allegedly resisting arrest.

The second time occurred while protesting the same issue, but this time in front of the White House in 2013. She’s also had previous arrests related to environmental protesting against coal mining and their effects on urban gardens. Clearly, Hannah won’t be silenced over a few arrests.

Danny Glover Wasn’t Going to Let an Arrest Stop Him From Fighting for His Cause

Karin ZEITVOGEL/AFP/Getty Images

In April 2010, Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover was arrested in Maryland along with eleven other individuals. They were participating in a labor union protest at the headquarters of Sodexo, a food service company who were accused of unfair and illegal treatment of their workers.

Those that were arrested were given citations for alleged trespassing and could either pay a $1,000 fine or face up to 90 days in jail. After he was released, Glover went on Twitter to thank his fans for their support and where they could find information on their cause and ways that they could get involved too.

Mos Def Was Arrested for Speaking Out Against The Bush Administration

Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

At the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, rapper Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, decided to make an impromptu performance. He came onto the stage with the intention to perform the “Katrina Clap,” as a way to protest what he thought was the Bush Administrations slows response to the Hurricane Katrina victims.

However, since Mos Def didn’t have a sanctioned performance during the award ceremony, his act of protest was shut down by the police. During the chaos of the minor protest being shut down, Bey was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Martin Sheen Has Been Arrested 68 Times!

NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images

Out of all of the celebrities that have been arrested, Martin Sheen might take the cake for having the most arrests. He has been arrested 68 times, all for peaceful protest. On one occasion in 1986, he was arrested during an anti-nuclear protest at the test-site entrance. On his arrest, he commented, “I love my country enough to risk its wrath to tell the truth.”

He was arrested again in 1990, after spilling a blood-like substance on the front of the downtown Federal Building in Los Angeles to protest the U.S. policies and the people that were killed in El Salvador. These are only a fragment of everything Sheen has be a part of, setting the bar for protesters everywhere.

Coming up: this musician physically tried to stop men from joining the military.

Jane Fonda Believes Her Arrest Was Part of a Conspiracy

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for SiriusXM

In 1970, the two time Academy Award-winning actress was arrested at a Cleveland airport after returning from Canada where she gave a speech in opposition of the Vietnam War. The authorities stopped her and seized a bag of pills, where she was then arrested from drug smuggling. To this day, she claims that she was arrested in an attempt to smear her reputation so that she would no longer be able to give speeches against the Vietnam War.

The pills that were confiscated turned out to be nothing more than vitamins. That same year, Fonda was arrested again while attempting to help a Native American tribe keep part of their land.

Rosario Dawson Didn’t Have Hard Feelings About Her Arrest

Steven Ferdman/FilmMagic

In April 2016, Rosario Dawson was one of the hundreds of “Democracy Spring” protesters arrested on Capitol Hill for crowding and obstruction. Dawson was opposing the corruption of money in politics and the “Citizens United” which deregulates campaign spending by outside organizations.

Rosario crossed the police line to engage in a sit-in, in which she was then detained and fined. However, Dawson wasn’t bitter about her arrest, claiming that she had no issue with the police who warned her multiple times before finally arresting her.

Joan Baez Was Arrested for Physically Trying to Stop People From Joining the Army

David Redfern/Redferns

Joan Baez, a folk singer during the 1960s, who was a huge critic of the Vietnam War. In October 1967, Baez teamed up with a group of 250 other Vietnam War protesters who were trying to physically prevent young men from walking into the military induction center in Oakland, California.

The group wanted to stop them from signing up for what they saw was a pointless war and gave them anti-war literature to tryto change their mind. Baez was arrested along with 40 other participants and spent eleven days in jail. That same year, she was arrested again for similar reasons, spending more than a month behind bars.

Hayden Panettiere Used a Surfboard to Protest

Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

On October 30, 2007, actress Hayden Panettiere and a group of protesters from the United States and Australia paddled out on surfboards to a cove near Taiji in southwestern Japan. The group’s goal was to disrupt a Japanese annual fisherman’s ritual of fishing for whales and dolphins. Apparently, the fishermen and the protest group clashed, forcing the protesters back to the shore.

However, Panettiere didn’t walk away unscathed, as she later learned that she had a warrant out for her arrest in Japan. Regarding Panettiere’s warrant, a spokesperson for the Fisheries Attaché told Access Hollywood that "Generations of people in Taiji have relied on fisheries for their livelihoods, and their catches are carried out in a sustainable manner."

Bonnie Raitt Is Fighting Against Deforestation

Brian Rasic/WireImage

In July 2001, singer Bonnie Raitt was arrested during a sit-in organized by the Rainforest Action Network. The sit-in took place outside of Boise Cascade Office Products in the Itasca suburb outside of Chicago. The protest was in opposition to the logging practices of the office products company with over 20 participants. The group was later handcuffed and charged with disorderly conduct. Everyone was released from the city jail after paying a small fine.

Randall Hayes, the organizer of the event, stated that "Deforestation worldwide is a life and death issue. We want deforestation halted, we want it now and we want it for future generations." They continued to fight against Boise Cascade long after the arrests took place.

Conor Kennedy Was Arrested Trying to Protect the Environment

Cindy Ord/FilmMagic

Conor Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was arrested along with 47 other protesting environmentalists in February 2013. The group was arrested in front of the White House while protesting the proposed building of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was intended to run from Alberta Canada to Steele City, Nevada.

Kennedy’s group were expressing their concerns for potential oil spills and higher carbon emissions that come along with extracting tar sands oil. After being detained, Kennedy was released once he paid the fine he was charged with.

Noah Wyle Was Arrested At The Nation’s Capitol

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In 2012, ER star Noah Wyle was arrested in Washington, D.C. where he and members of ADAPT were protesting Congress’ potential decision to cut Medicaid. He recalled the moment of arrest when he told The Hollywood Reporter, “As soon as everybody saw me being led away, they let up a big whooping cheer, which made me feel really good.”

Surely, seeing an actor of such regard being arrested for a cause that you also believe in would only make you feel stronger about the issues. You’re also more likely to see the next thing that they’re in.