Stars and stripes: Celebs in politics

    Ashley Judd became active in politics in 2008, when she publically endorsed Barack Obama in the election. Since then, Judd has supported humanitarian and political causes including AIDS prevention and sexual violence assistance programs. In February 2013, Judd hinted that she was planning to run for Senate, but on March 27 she announced that she's no longer interested. Although Judd won't continue to rise in politics, several other celebrities have campaigned and lobbies for causes important to them.

    Bono: Anti-Poverty

    Bono, the lead singer of U2, has actively supported human rights. In 1991, U2 released a song titled “One,” which calls on all people to “carry each other.” The proceeds from the song went towards AIDS research. Bono used the song's message to create his advocacy campaign, The ONE Campaign. Founded in 2004, the organization improves international aid programs by increasing funding and awareness. Bono has used his celebrity status to lobby for his beliefs, and has been successful as evidenced by the 2008 book Bono's Politics: The Future of Celebrity Activism.

    Lady Gaga: Sexual equality

    In 2010, Lady Gaga spoke at a "don’t ask, don’t tell" rally in Maine, supporting the repeal of the policy. In her speech, she spoke about equality being the “prime rib” of America.  Following this, Lady Gaga released the single "Born This Way" in 2011, which supported her political and social beliefs on sexuality. This song led to the creation of the Born This Way Foundation, which seeks to foster a “more accepting society,” and specifically focuses on reaching out to the youth of America. 

    Angelina Jolie: Funding for orphans

    Angeline Jolie has spent several years advocating for children orphaned by AIDS and even adopted three kids of her own. Jolie has fundraised in several ways, including donating the $4.3 million that People paid to take the first photographs of her first biological daughter, Shiloh. In 2011, the actress designed a jewelry collection titled “The Style of Jolie” which is on sale in Dubai and will benefit her charity, the Education Partnership for Children in Conflict. Jolie recently took the funds from this jewelry line to fund a school in Afghanistan.

    George Clooney: Darfur

    Clooney has advocated in many ways for a resolution of the conflict in Darfur. In 2006, he spoke in Washington, D.C. about the issue and then went on to spend ten days in Chad and Sudan shooting a documentary that showed the situation and asked for action. The proceeds of the DCD benefitted the International Rescue Committee. He also appeared in the 2007 documentary Darfur Now. In March 2012, Clooney was arrested for protesting outside of the Sudanese embassy. Along with his father, Clooney asked for an end of violence and allowing humanitarian aid into the country.

    Jerry Springer: Government

    Although Jerry Springer is best known for The Jerry Springer Show, he also ran for Congress in 1970. Although Springer failed to win a seat, he did win 45% of the vote and ultimately was elected onto the Cincinnati city council. In 1974, Springer resigned after admitting to hiring a prostitute, but came back after coming clean to the incident. In 1977, he was chosen to be mayor of the city. In 2003, Springer considered running for Senate but changed his mind due to negative connotations with The Jerry Springer Show.

    Ben Affleck: Argo

    Ben Affleck has spoken about various issues from minimum wage to Kony for the past decade, advocating for democratic policies. His most recent political move was last year's Argo, a movie portraying the 1979 Iran hostage crisis that he both acted in and directed. While the film was extremely successful in the United States and won Best Picture at the 85th Academy Awards, it was repremanded in several countries, including Iran and New Zealand.


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