Michael Moore and Mark Ruffalo Lead Inauguration Protest at Manhattan’s Trump Hotel

Thousands of New Yorkers — as well as a healthy contingent of entertainment industry names including Julianne Moore, Robert DeNiro, Alec Baldwin and Sally Field — gathered on Manhattan’s Upper West Side Thursday night, turning up for a political protest organized by Michael Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Fisher Stevens on the eve of the inauguration of incoming president Donald Trump.

With organizers and speakers taking to a stage set up in front of the Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle, crowds funneled onto Central Park West bearing signs that read “Hate Ain’t Great,” “Not My President” and “This Is Not Normal,” among other slogans. The gathering stretched some four blocks deep, with one estimate pegging the number of attendees at as much as 20,000. A big screen broadcast the speeches for people too far back to see.Baldwin broke out the Trump impression he’d honed on “Saturday Night Live,” riffing on Trump’s ties to Russia and on some of the seamier claims in the intelligence dossier that hit the press last week. Imagining Trump standing in the middle of the rally with no access to a bathroom, Baldwin-as-Trump told the crowd, “When I get to the Russian consulate after this, I’m gonna have a really, really long pee.”

Related Content Inauguration Concert: Donald Trump Tells Crowd ‘You Are Not Forgotten Anymore’

Brooklyn native Rosie Perez kicked off the event — “The world is watching, and we want to let them know our voices matters,” she said — before she introduced Robert DeNiro, who made cracks about what Trump would tweet about him in the wake of the protest, including “DeNiro should give back his Oscar! The voting was rigged!”

Plenty of political names turned out for the rally as well, beginning with New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who underscored the organizing principles of the rally: health care for all, protecting the earth and equal opportunity. “Tomorrow is not an end,” he said of inauguration day. “Tomorrow is a beginning.”

Organizer Moore warned attendees, “As bad we think it’s going to be, it’s going to be worse. But the good news is there’s more of us than there are of them.” He exhorted everyone at the rally to call their congressional representatives every day to make their views known, and also touted the power of comedy as the only thing that seemed to get under the incoming president’s skin.

In a call for progressive unity that would be echoed in the words of other speakers that night, he noted, “We’re all Muslim. We’re all Mexican. We’re all women. We’re all American. Yes, and we are all queer too.”

Ruffalo, Field, Julianne Moore, Cynthia Nixon, Shailene Woodley, Marisa Tomei and Cher were among those to speak, along with activists and politicians including Al Sharpton, Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges, NAACP president Cornell William Brooks and Linda Sarsour, the cofounder of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York and an organizer of the upcoming Women’s March on Washington.

The onstage presentation finished off some two hours after the event had begun with a song performed by Natalie Merchant. Just before that, Moore had invited everyone at the rally to walk with him a few blocks downtown to Trump Tower, the president-elect’s New York homebase, to continue the peaceful protest.

Janeil Engelstad, a protester who described herself as based in Seattle and Dallas, held a sign shaped like a giant fist with the word “resist” emblazoned on it. “I came to express that light and love is in itself is a form of resistance,” she said. “When someone is elected on a platform of fear and hatred, the best form of resistance really is to hold the opposite space.”

Just before the inauguration protest’s 6 p.m. start time, the New York theater community had mobilized as part of the Ghostlight Project, a national movement that organized vigils outside theaters and in hub areas in certain cities. In midtown Manhattan, hundreds of people had gathered in Times Square and held aloft phones, battery powered candles and glowing batons, intended to symbolize a pledge to protect inclusion, participation and compassion.

More Biz

  • Andhadhun

    Booming Digital Lifts Eros Indian Film Distribution Giant

    Eros International, India’s largest and most controversial film distributor, says that its digital revenues now outstrip conventional theatrical and syndication revenues. Its Eros Now streaming platform claims 18.8 million paying subscribers. The New York-listed company reported annual results that were distorted by multiple adjustments to presentation. Reported revenues in the year to end of March [...]

  • The dark Manhatten skyline, seen from

    StubHub Refunds $500,000 to Customers Shut Out by New York Blackout

    Saturday’s blackout in New York had an outsized effect on the city’s nightlife, with Madison Square Garden and the entire Broadway district seeing multiple shows cancelled due to the the power outage. As a result, StubHub has refunded more than $500,000 worth of tickets for cancelled events. According to a statement from the company, the StubHub [...]

  • Weapons Cache

    D.A. Files 64 Charges in Bel-Air Weapons Stockpile Case

    The L.A. County District Attorney’s office has filed 64 counts against Girard Saenz, the man who allegedly kept a stockpile of more than 1,000 weapons at a Bel-Air home linked to the Getty family. Saenz is accused of illegal possession of assault weapons, transferring handguns without a dealer license, possession of short-barreled shotguns, and possession [...]

  • 9-1-1: Angela Bassett in the series

    Fox Sees Primetime, Sports Ad Gains As TV Upfront Wraps

    Fox Corporation is the latest to benefit from stronger-than-expected trends in TV ad spending, as the company notched strong gains in advertising commitments for its next cycle of programming – its first since selling off a large chunk of its media assets to Walt Disney. Ad demand was stronger than many executives anticipated, according to [...]

  • BMI Promotes David Levin to Senior

    BMI Promotes David Levin to Senior VP of Licensing

    BMI today announced that David Levin has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Licensing, effective immediately. In his newly expanded role, Levin is responsible for all of BMI’s domestic licensing and revenue generation, encompassing radio, television, digital media, cable, satellite and general licensing.  Levin, who will oversee teams in New York and Nashville, reports [...]

  • Warner Music Group Logo

    Warner Music Acquires Musical Theater Indie First Night Records

    Warner Music Group has acquired First Night Record, an independent record label for West End and Broadway musical theatre cast recordings. The company will be overseen by WMG’s Arts Music Division, led by President Kevin Gore. First Night co-founder John Craig will join the Arts Music team under a multi-year consulting agreement to identify and record musical theatre productions in [...]

  • Woodstock 50 to Hold Open House

    Woodstock 50 to Hold Open House for Local Residents Before Permit Review Tuesday

    If nothing else, the producers of Woodstock 50 are persistent. After two permit applications to hold the troubled festival at the Vernon Downs racetrack in Upstate New York were rejected by the town of Vernon codes office, the producers and venue owner Jeffrey Gural today invited the local community “to embrace the Festival’s spirit of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content