Lucy's Celebrity Status Puts Spotlight On Save The Arctic Campaign and What It Actually Means
Editorial by MaryD
15 June 2012
It's been quite a newsy few days following Lucy's burglary conviction being thrown out and the lesser charge of being unlawfully on a ship put in it's place. The burglary charge was ridiculous to begin with but that's what they went for. Lucy was very relieved judging by the tweet she sent after the court case had ended.
Naturally the media was all over it and to date over 330 articles (a quick google check) have been written about it; some good, some repeating the Greenpeace press release or the AP Story. There were others who were emphasizing the 3 year jail time Lucy may receive (which is very doubtful since it's her first offense according to people that actually know what they are talking about instead of gossip blogs).
Today's steady stream of media reports were pretty much the same but one exception that I happened to read caught my attention and made me think. The Guardian Express has a very interesting article how Lucy's involvement in the Save The Arctic protest and how successful it was in illuminating issue. This is quite true since if it was just the Taranaki 7 (without Lucy) it would not have received such wide spread coverage. Sad to say but true and Shell's plans would have gone off without any fanfare other than a few lines in the paper. Lucy's involvement guaranteed it headline news and that is exactly what has happened.
Lucy has received some positive press lauding her stand but a good portion has hammered her on the issue. Lest we forget the idiocy/character bashing after she came down from the derrick and the shock horror of the world finding out that 20 years ago she appeared in a Shell Commercial. A lot has happened in 20 years and people do have the right to change their minds..or is that just non celebrities are allowed that luxury? That was the kind of stupid reporting that followed the 4 days of protest.
I'm reminded of the absolute vitriol that Cate Blanchett faces every time she has the audacity to voice her opinion about the climate change issue in Australia. How dare a celebrity want to have an opinion that differs from the shockjocks and climate change deniers? How dare they; they have millions so they should shut up and just enjoy their money with no thought to what is going on around them. What utter nonsense. Cate and Lucy have every right to take a stand and they have. They are leading the charge, using their celebrity status to good use and In Lucy's case, giving her a conviction and possible jail time (she won't get that for a first time offender).
Now to the The Guardian Express article which mentioned Lucy; it highlights the fact that Lucy's name brought the issue to prominence in a very good way:
Oil companies took the legal oxygen out of the air today as both Lucy Lawless and Stephen Baldwin were on the short end of justice.
Lucy Lawless, who played Xena: Warrior Princess, plead guilty to illegally occupying an oil drilling ship. Lawless had been arrested along with seven other defendants for scaling the 53m-high derrick of the ship and then placed a banner that read 'Stop Shell, Save the Arctic." Initially, they were charged with burglary, but when the prosecutors agreed to reduce the charges to illegally boarding a ship, Lawless and her codefendants accepted responsibility.
Both cases drew national media attention. Of course, since Baldwin's case went to trail, reporters flocked to it on a daily basis.
If not for the celebrity of the defendants, perhaps these cases would have skipped quietly underneath the radar. It arguably took names like Costner, Baldwin and Lucy Lawless to put a spotlight on oil company practices. In that effort, Lawless' case was much more successful in illuminating the issues.
Of the many things Lucy has said after the court case had ended the following was the most thought provoking for me:
"For the first time in my life, I put my body and reputation on the line to stand up for my beliefs and do the right thing," she told the Associated Press after appearing in court. "I hope I've encouraged other people to do the same."
That's pretty much it: she put her body and reputation on the line for something she passionately believes in. How many of us can say that? This issue has a long way to go and AUSXIP will follow and support Lucy all the way; supporting her and Greenpeace in the fight against drilling for oil in the arctic and other issues that endanger our future and those of future generations.
Fight the good fight!
See more on the AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Save The Arctic Support Page for more news, photos, video and other multimedia