Culture

And the Academy Award for Hollywood Hypocrisy Goes to: Mark Ruffalo

Ruffalo at the People’s Climate March in New York, September 21, 2014. (Andrew Burton/Getty)

It’s a long journey from Manhattan to Los Angeles without burning any fossil fuels, so hopefully Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo started walking several weeks ago.

Ruffalo — nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Spotlight — is one of Hollywood’s most outspoken environmental activists. Over the past few decades, he appeared in a string of forgettable romantic comedies before earning fame as Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the Avengers movie series. Perhaps playing a character with two different personas has taught him how to lead the double-standard life of a typical Hollywood environmental hypocrite; one day, you’re flying to award ceremonies and making energy-guzzling action movies, the next day you’re raging against the very industries and technologies that make your comfortable lifestyle possible.

Ruffalo is the kind of climate-change zealot that probably makes other climate-change zealots cringe. “But it’s my kids, man,” Ruffalo says. “I look at my kids, and the thought [of] mass extinction, and I see the change that’s happening with the trees . . . ” He’s promised to purge his investments of any fossil-fuel companies in the next three to five years (sure, take your time) and encourages his celebrity buddies to do the same. Ruffalo wears the disaffected look well, designed to fool people into believing he’s untarnished by modernity. Why shower and shave when it wastes so much water?

His big issue is fracking: “I mean, c’mon, what the hell . . .  who thought of fracking?” Ruffalo recently lamented on Steven Colbert’s show. (“People who need oil, they’re called Americans,” Colbert responded.) He’s a professional protestor, demanding a fracking moratorium in Pennsylvania last year and leading a massive climate-change march in New York City in 2014 with fellow Hollywood hypocrite, Oscar nominee, and global jet-setter Leonardo DiCaprio. Ruffalo started an anti-fracking non-profit; he daily admonishes his more than 2 million Twitter followers about the evils of fossil fuels — which he refers to as “enemy No. 1 to mankind” — and the big corporations behind them (of course, like all lefty celebrities, corporations are bad unless they happen to be a corporation that makes your movies). He begged Elizabeth Warren to run for president; he now supports anti-fracker Bernie Sanders.

RELATED: The Environmentalists’ Civil War

Just last week, Ruffalo wrote in Eco-Watch that “fracking is an extreme form of oil and gas extraction that leads to water contamination, air pollution, earthquakes, illness, exacerbates climate change, and turns communities upside down.” Now, it takes a special kind of hubris to write this just before boarding an airplane loaded with 30,000 gallons of jet fuel to fly from New York to London for a British movie awards show, but that’s exactly what Ruffalo did. He later posted a selfie of being chauffeured to the ceremony in — not a horse and buggy — but a fossil-fuel-burning limousine. No doubt if he wins an Oscar Sunday night, we’ll all be subjected to a lecture about hydraulic fracking just before he takes another limo to LAX and boards another jet to fly home to New York.

#share#Despite working in the eco-hostile entertainment industry for most of his life (just imagine the carbon footprint of one Avengers movie), Ruffalo is a diehard crusader for renewable energy. He’s on the board of The Solutions Project, a group of left-wing environmentalists that wants to transition to 100 percent renewables — wind, water, and solar — by 2050. As a member of Hollywood United, Ruffalo wants California to end “all gas and oil development by 2030.” Hard to imagine scaling up enough solar energy in California to power craft services for pampered celebrities every day, let alone produce a major motion picture.

Hard to imagine scaling up enough solar energy in California to power craft services for pampered celebrities every day.

But Ruffalo’s ire is not just reserved for oil and gas companies. In December, Ruffalo bragged about his confrontation with Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant in a CBS green room. An uneducated actor who’s probably never employed anyone outside of his publicist, Ruffalo confronted Grant, who he called the “horrible” chief of Monsanto, a company that employs more than 20,000 people including some of the best scientists and researchers in the world. Here’s how Ruffalo described the incident:

His handlers clearly have been working very hard with him to give him every slippery non-answer to every question he was asked. I was beside myself watching this guy who is responsible for so much misery and sickness throughout the world slime his way through his interview. I could not hold my tongue. He came through the Green Room door ready to do high fives with his press agent and I simply told him this: ‘You are wrong. You are engaged in monopolizing food. You are poisoning people. You are killing small farms. You are killing bees. What you are doing is dead wrong.’

None of that is true, but you can’t really expect a guy who thinks 322 million Americans can survive on wind turbines to actually deal with reality. This week, though, Ruffalo’s arrogance and ignorance caught up with him. He tweeted out an egregiously inaccurate article blaming pesticides — not mosquitos — for transmitting the Zika virus and causing certain birth defects (it was retweeted more than 500 times). Ruffalo eagerly put the blame on a Monsanto subsidiary (which also turned out to be false) and called it the “true cause of Brazil’s microcephaly outbreak.” The actor was called out by the New York Times and other news outlets for spreading the conspiracy theory; Ruffalo later retweeted an article debunking the rumor yet refused to acknowledge his mistake.

But being Mark Ruffalo means never having to say you’re sorry. When you play a green monster who scares people into submission, maybe you start to believe your own scripts. But when it comes to fact-checking and humility, Ruffalo could use a little more Bruce Banner and a little less Hulk.

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