Jane Fonda talks protest, arrest — and why she wants another night in jail
'It's quite an experience to know that you are powerless'
Jane Fonda's hoping for an unusual birthday present — another night in a Washington, D.C., jail.
The award-winning actress and businesswoman has decamped to Washington from Los Angeles to protest against climate change.
"I decided I needed to leave my comfort zone and put my body on the line, engage in civil disobedience and risk getting arrested because we need to step up with bolder actions. It's a real crisis," she told CBC's Susan Ormiston.
Fire Drill Fridays were inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg. Since Sept. 27, Fonda has joined a group of protesters engaging in civil disobedience; she's been arrested four times and jailed once, overnight.
"It's quite an experience to know that you are powerless, that you have been handcuffed and that you were completely in the control of the police," she said.
"Because I'm white and famous, I'm not going to be treated badly."
She said her jailers couldn't believe she was there voluntarily. She admits the power of protest will not change policy overnight but she brings "celebrity," which is important, she says, to motivate others to act on their convictions and get out to protest the climate crisis.
Watch Susan Ormiston's interview with Jane Fonda:
Fonda is no stranger to activism. Over 50 years she's demonstrated for women's and Indigenous rights, and against the Iraq war and Alberta's oilsands.
She was first arrested in the early 1970s for her opposition to the war in Vietnam. She was dubbed Hanoi Jane after posing with the North Vietnamese and later apologized. But back then, she was seen as a disruptor and was apprehended crossing into the U.S. from Canada.
"You know, the more they attacked me, the more I dug in my heels. If they thought I was some soft Hollywood starlet daughter of Henry Fonda and they could bully me, no, I wasn't gonna let them get me. I just kept going," she told CBC.
Does she still feel that way?
"Oh yeah," says Fonda, "Only see, now I'm old and so I feel even more capable of standing up."
She just might celebrate her 82nd birthday this Saturday locked up again.