×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    CBS Credit Union Manager Sentenced to 14 Years for $40 Million Fraud

    Edwin Rostohar, the longtime manager of the CBS Employees Federal Credit Union, was sentenced on Monday to 14 years in prison for embezzling $40 million. The massive fraud left the credit union insolvent. It was shuttered and taken over by the University Credit Union, which assumed the accounts of 2,800 members. Rostohar pleaded guilty in [...]

  • United Talent Agency Reveals New Logo

    UTA Unveils New Logo, Corporate Image

    UTA raised the curtain Monday on a new corporate logo. The three-dimensional image is meant to emphasize the talent agency’s focus on uniting ideas, opportunities and talent. Building signage with the new logo will go up next month at UTA’s headquarters in Beverly Hills. “Our new identity captures the multiple facets and intersections of our [...]

  • Tribune Tower

    FCC Approves Nexstar Acquisition of Tribune Media

    The FCC has voted to approve Nexstar’s $4.1 billion takeover of Tribune Media, paving the way for Nexstar to become the nation’s largest owner of television stations with more than 200 outlets serving a wide swath of the country. FCC commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the merger agreement that was reached in December. Nexstar’s pact [...]

  • Endeavor co-founder Ari Emanuel

    Endeavor Aims to Raise $620 Million With IPO

    Endeavor disclosed Monday that it expects a price between $30 and $32 per share for its initial public offering in the fall. Endeavor — the parent company of WME, UFC, IMG, Endeavor Content, Professional Bull Riders and other assets — aims to raise as much as $620 million with the sale of 19.4 million shares. [...]

  • Overall View of the Rose Bowl

    One Dead, One Injured in Rose Bowl Parking Lot Shooting

    One person was killed and another was injured Saturday night following a shooting in a Rose Bowl parking lot, the Pasadena police confirmed. According to a statement from the police department, police responded to reports of a physical altercation and shots fired at 11:22 p.m. near the area of Arroyo Boulevard and Seco Street, where [...]

  • Felicity Huffman

    Felicity Huffman Issues Apology After Receiving Prison Sentence: 'There Are No Excuses'

    Felicity Huffman issued a long statement of apology on Friday after receiving a two-week prison sentence for paying to illegally boost her daughter’s SAT score. In the statement, Huffman, in addition to saying  she accepts the court’s decision, acknowledges and apologizes to other parents fighting to get their children into college. Along with the prison [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content