Slideshow

Celebrities Who Have Entered the Political Arena

These Hollywood celebrities are working as political players, human-rights activists, and environmental advocates.

Aug. 3, 2015, 10:07 a.m.

From Amy Schu­mer work­ing with her cous­in on a new ini­ti­at­ive, to Sean Penn as­sist­ing after Kat­rina, these stars are get­ting to work in polit­ics and world is­sues.

Comedian Amy Schumer is teaming up with her cousin, Sen. Chuck Schumer, to reduce gun violence after a shooting in a movie theater at the opening of her film, Trainwreck. The Schumers announced the new initiative on Monday.  Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Gwyneth Paltrow wrote a letter explaining her choice to join the "Just Label It" movement to create mandatory GMO labeling, speaking out against a House bill that opponents call the "Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act." Paltrow is actively involved, trying to garner support for the movement to obtain 200,000 petition signatures against the bill. She and her mother, Blythe Danner, will be in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to discuss GMO labeling. Paltrow has written on health and dieting in multiple books, her most recent being It's All Good, and for her blog, "Goop." Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
George Clooney has raised money for the Obama administration and Democratic Party and is heavily active in human-rights campaigns, particularly involving Darfur, Syria, and Sudan. He was even arrested outside of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. in 2012 for civil disobedience during a protest. Clooney has been asked about running for political office multiple times, and he responded in 2012, saying, "I have no interest." Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
With a last name that fits her interests and the setting of her hit ABC show, Scandal, Kerry Washington is heavily involved in politics, particularly on women's issues. She spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 for Obama's reelection campaign. Washington also spoke out for women's rights and against Mitt Romney in a commercial for Moveon.org, in which she was joined by Scarlett Johansson and Eva Longoria. Washington takes an active role in campaigns against cancer and violence against women and girls. She said in an interview with Deadline.com, "I actually made a promise to myself early on that I would not stop because I was in the public eye, because I feel like it's my responsibility as an American to be engaged." Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images
Scarlett Johansson, well-known for her role as Black Widow in the "Avengers" franchise, has supported Planned Parenthood for years. In 2011 she made a one-minute video discussing the importance of Planned Parenthood, she discussed women's health in 2012, and started designing t-shirts for the company in 2014 after the Hobby Lobby court ruling. "When I heard that some politicians were cheering the Supreme Court's decision to give bosses the right to interfere in our access to birth control, I thought I had woken up in another decade," said Johansson. She added that she "was appalled by the thought of men taking away women's ability to make our own personal health care decisions." Scarlett Johansson, well-known for her role as Black Widow in the Avengers franchise, has supported Planned Parenthood for years. In 2011 she made a one-minute video discussing the importance of Planned Parenthood, and she started designing T-shirts for the organization in 2014 after the Hobby Lobby court ruling. "When I heard that some politicians were cheering the Supreme Court's decision to give bosses the right to interfere in our access to birth control, I thought I had woken up in another decade," said Johansson. She added that she "was appalled by the thought of men taking away women's ability to make our own personal health care decisions." Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SodaStream
Mark Ruffalo, also known from the Avengers franchise, but as the large, green Hulk, spoke out on the recent "I am not a feminist" Internet movement by reposting an activists's essay on his Tumblr page. He said in an interview with AOL BUILD, "The substance of the piece I really agreed with, which was basically women saying that feminism basically sucked. And the woman [writer] was saying you enjoy a lot of things that people starved to death in a prison cell so that you could vote today." Ruffalo is also involved in the nonprofits Water Defense, a project for clean water, and the Solutions Project for clean energy. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
Actor Matt Damon is a cofounder of Water.org, a charity supporting clean-water programs in developing countries. "We're at a point where politicians don't really get any benefit from engaging with long-term issues," Damon has said. "Instead, it's all about the next election cycle. Those guys in the House don't do anything now but run for office. So unless they can find some little thing that zips them up a couple of points in the polls, they're not interested." Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images
Best known for Desperate Housewives, Eva Longoria supported President Obama during his 2012 campaign. She also threw her support behind the Latino Victory Project PAC in 2014. One of Longoria's goals in politics is to show that "Latinos aren't a drain on the economy or criminals crossing the border. Most are hardworking people who are America's emerging market." Rick Kern/Getty Images for Latino Victory Project
In 2002, Sean Penn protested George W. Bush's plans in Iraq by visiting the country, and he wrote open letters to the Bush administration. He recently called out Bush and Dick Cheney, saying on Conan that they "created" ISIS. After Katrina, he helped rescue victims with a motorboat; and he cofounded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization in 2012 after the earthquake hit Haiti, earning him the title of ambassador-at-large; he was the first non-Haitian to hold the title, which was bestowed upon him by President Michel Martelly. Lee Celano/Getty Images
Ashley Judd almost ran against Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Kentucky Senate race. She is particularly active in women's issues, and she became a global ambassador for YouthAIDS in 2002. Judd was also a board member of Population Services International.  Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images
Olivia Wilde has always spoken up on her feelings on political issues, and in 2014 she came out in support of Proposition 47, an initiative in California to reduce penalties for particular crimes. She noted, "Being a mother has reinforced and refined my thinking on many issues, including—believe it or not—our criminal justice system. That's why I'm supporting Proposition 47." Wilde also appeared in the "99% Spring" YouTube video, speaking in support of the "99 percent."  Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Global Citizen Festival
Longtime actor Leonardo DiCaprio "dreamt of becoming a marine biologist" before finding Hollywood stardom, he said. Creator of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, he pledged to spend $7 million over a two-year period on marine conservation. "This isn't simply an exercise in wildlife conservation," he said at a State Department conference in 2014, where Obama also pledged his support. "If we don't do something to save the ocean now, it won't be just the sharks and the dolphins that suffer. It will be our children and our grandchildren." His foundation, which focuses on protecting wildlife and the environment, raised $40 million at its annual gala earlier this month. Pierre Suu/Getty Images For LDC Foundation
This movie star is extremely active on Twitter, tweeting and retweeting about issues of women's rights and racial profiling. Rosario Dawson (shown above with actor Diego Luna) cowrote an op-ed on education with Jeb Bush, signed a petition for immigration reform, and cofounded Voto Latino, which serves to help register young Latinos and involve them in politics. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Actress Daryl Hannah is a very involved environmental activist. She was arrested in 2012 for protesting the Keystone XL pipeline after allegedly standing before an earthmoving machine, and she was again arrested at a protest for the pipeline in 2013. Hannah has also been a part of panel discussions and news conferences discussing climate change and the environment.  Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
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