If you are on Twitter right now – and as it’s ‘Follow Friday’ you probably are, you will have noticed that George Clooney has been arrested for ‘civil disobedience’ whilst taking part in a demonstration outsideSudan’s embassy in Washington DC. (BBC.co.uk)
The actor, his father Nick, and other notaries including Martin Luther King III, son of the civil rights leader; Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern; Virginia Democratic Congressman Jim Moran; and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Ben Jealous were part of a protest to raise awareness of a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the border between Sudan and South Sudan.
The arrests came just one day after Clooney met with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss the Sudan situation.
Speaking to the BBC, Secret Service spokesman George Oglivie said: “George Clooney was arrested for crossing a police line at the Sudan embassy and he’ll be transported to the Metropolitan police department second district.”
Clooney has long been a political animal and is one of a growing number of film stars who use their position in the public eye to draw attention to causes they are passionate about.
Sudan is particularly close to the actor’s heart and he has visited the region on a number of occasions. On his last secret visit to Sudan, Clooney travelled to the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, where his group witnessed a rocket attack.
Clooney compared the current political climate inSudanto the violence inDarfur, calling the situations “ominously similar”.
The arrests reportedly came after Clooney and fellow activists ignored repeated warnings to clear the scene.
While the idea of Clooney in handcuffs may raise the pulses of millions of suburban housewives all over the world, the nature of his arrest has unequivocally drawn worldwide attention to the situation he is trying to warn of.
The media spotlight is on Clooney’s arrest and those with a responsibility to do so are trying to shed light on the Sudan situation, but there is always a danger that the star outshines the story.
Already Twitter jokes about some of the films Clooney should have been arrested for – from comedians and fans alike – are replacing the serious posts regarding the protest and some of the message is being lost.
Twitter is a fantastic way to spread a message, but beware it becomes Chinese whispers – the meaning changes and the original message can get lost.
Hopefully we’ll all remember why Clooney was willing to get arrested and take head of his warnings, in the meantime, for better or worse, Clooney has become the poster boy for political protests – expect unofficial merchandise baring ‘I got cuffed with Clooney’ slogans very soon.
- George Clooney & His Father Arrested Outside Sudan Embassy (theobamacrat.com)
- George Clooney, Congressmen To Protest At Sudan Embassy (huffingtonpost.com)