Soy Cromwell! Baby Actor’s Starbucks Plant-Based Milk Protest Reveals Why He’s Movies’ Best Revolutionary movies

IIt’s probably time to face facts and declare James Cromwell our greatest living actor. When James Cromwell appears in anything, Jurassic Park’s seedy sequels notwithstanding, audiences automatically know to breathe a sigh of relief. The moment they first appeared on Succession, for example, was the moment viewers could relax in the knowledge that the show would contain more than just surface wickedness. And while he was given perhaps the dumbest slur of all to appear in 24 — he played Jack Bauer’s father and ended up getting blown up on an oil rig — at least we knew the role was in the safest of hands.

But that’s not why James Cromwell is our greatest living actor. Well, that’s because the man can walk like he’s talking about it. When other actors try to bring about real change, they do so in the most flagrant way. They will board a private jet to attend a climate crisis summit. They’re going to make stupid, insincere speeches at the awards ceremony. In the worst case, they will try to sing themselves to greater awareness.

I got you babe… Cromwell became vegan after playing Farmer Hoggett in 1995. Photo: Cinetext Picture Library / Universal Pictures / Allstar

However, not James Cromwell. Cromwell is a man who, when he learns that Starbucks charges a little more for oat milk than cow’s milk, walks into a local branch and literally glues himself to the counter in protest.

That happened this week. Cromwell, accompanied by some Peta activists, strolled into a New York Starbucks store, calmly taped his hand to a counter and proceeded to read a statement about the injustice of the chain’s vegan policy, noting that he was responding to an unverified petition nachgang was signed by 13,000 people. When he was done, the police showed up. Just as calmly, Cromwell untied his hand with a knife and then walked away.

And while it could be argued that Cromwell chose the wrong target for his protest – perhaps it would have been a little fairer to cling to Starbucks headquarters, across from the baristas, many of whom are young and poorly paid, just trying to to get through without much effort – one cannot help but praise the courage of the man.

Successor James Cromwell sticks his hand to the Starbucks counter during the PETA protest – video

It’s also by no means his first rodeo. He protested the Vietnam War in the 1960s and defended the Black Panthers. A vegetarian since the mid-1970s, he became a vegan after playing a farmer in the film Babe. He was arrested in 2013 for protesting allegations of animal abuse at the University of Wisconsin. In 2015 he was arrested for protesting the construction of a natural gas power plant in Wawayanda, New York. The following year he was arrested again for protesting underground gas storage near Lake Seneca. In 2017, he was arrested for protesting SeaWorld’s treatment of orcas. Then he was arrested in 2019 for protesting dog abuse at Texas A&M University.

Cromwell in 2017, when he came to Orange County, New York, to serve a seven-day sentence after protesting a gas-fired power plant
Cromwell in 2017, when he came to Orange County, New York, to serve a seven-day sentence after protesting a gas-fired power plant. Photo: Erik McGregor / Pacific Press / ZUMA Wire / Rex / Shutterstock

And now this. With everything else going on in the world, it would be easy to write off a coffee chain that charges plant-based milk from 50 cents to a dollar as a minor inconvenience. But that is the level at which Cromwell operates. They would rather blend his skin with the inside of a building than have it slip. And it was worth it. This news has gone international and has caused such an unnecessary PR headache for Starbucks that you can expect the surcharge to be quietly reduced in the coming weeks.

And maybe they change even more. As other celebrities see how efficiently James Cromwell has been at bringing about change — and more importantly, how much press it has garnered him — we may see them involved in more incidents of direct action. Today James Cromwell is glued to a Starbucks. Tomorrow, who knows, we might see Leonardo DiCaprio pin his butt to a slaughterhouse.

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