Ted Danson, ‘Jane Fonda’s new trainee,’ is arrested in climate protests

Actress and activist Jane Fonda, left, is joined by actor Ted Danson as they and other demonstrators call on Congress for action to address climate change in Washington on Friday.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

So this is the bad place.

“The Good Place” star Ted Danson is the latest celebrity to be arrested at the U.S. Capitol for demonstrating on behalf of efforts to combat climate change.

The beloved “Cheers” alum was escorted away in restraints Friday morning after participating in the weekly, youth-led protest known as Fire Drill Fridays, which last week ensnared Oscar winner Jane Fonda and “Law & Order” veteran Sam Waterston in efforts to support Congress’ Green New Deal.

In fact, Fonda, wearing her signature bright red coat, was arrested for the third week in a row for the display and was escorted away triumphantly because getting arrested has been her intention all along.

The protests have ended with arrests because protesters have been blocking the streets near the U.S. Capitol building. This time, police arrested 32 individuals “for unlawfully demonstrating” in the intersection of East Capitol and First streets, a spokeswoman for the department said. All of them were charged for “crowding, obstructing or incommoding.”


“Mass actions like this are a critical part of continuing the momentum of the climate strikes, demonstrating support for a Green New Deal, and ensuring the world’s attention at this critical time!” the environmentalist group Greenpeace tweeted, sharing a video of Danson’s removal and the other detained protesters cheering him on.

Reps for Danson and Fonda did not immediately respond to The Times’ requests for comment Friday.

Prior to his arrest, Danson introduced himself as “Jane Fonda’s new trainee” when he joined Fonda onstage at a rally to talk about his 30 years of ocean activism.

Danson, 71, said that when he turned 70 he thought he could rest on his laurels and slow down. But he was wrong.

“And then I met Jane Fonda, who had her foot on the gas pedal and was not only 80, but was going 80 miles per hour at all times,” he said. “She’s astounding, she became my mentor, and here I am about to get arrested. ... It focuses your brain a little bit.”

Then he launched into this speech:

“All of this is inconvenient. Al Gore got it right. This is inconvenient. It’s inconvenient for politicians to stop taking money from the oil industry because it’s huge money they get. It’s easy, all you have to do is deny science and say there’s no such thing as climate change. Easy. It’s inconvenient for the oil industry to not drill wherever and whenever they want ’cause it’s huge money. It’s inconvenient for industries to stop burning fossil fuels. It’s inconvenient for all of us to realize that we have to share the planet’s natural resources with everyone including people we don’t like. It’s inconvenient to realize we’re all in this together. That either we will all make it or none of us will make it.”

He continued: “Our house is on fire and it’s time that we stop standing around complaining that it’s not convenient to change our ways. It’s time to start behaving like we care about our children and our grandchildren. Hey, we can do this. It may be a little inconvenient but it’s not as inconvenient as fires and floods and mass migration and droughts and starvation. That’s inconvenient. So come on down. Get arrested. Get your head on straight.”

Jane Fonda has been outspoken about getting arrested multiple times. Here are some of her best soundbites about activism and resistance.

Fonda, 81, a longtime political activist, recently told The Times that the protests will take place every Friday at 11 a.m. and will highlight a different issue. She’ll be joined by groups including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Oil Change International, all of which are active against climate change.

The two-time Oscar winner had hoped to take a year’s hiatus from her Netflix series “Grace & Frankie” to live in Washington, but she was contractually unable to. Once the show ends, she intends to return to the Capitol steps, she said.