Every year, the SAG Awards opens with a cross section of the film and television stars saying something about their work and then ending it with “I’m an actor.” Based on the celebrities protesting alongside citizens across the country at airports and in major cities, and the reaction during Saturday night’s PGA Awards when Mark Burnett took the stage, there was basically no chance that this year’s opening bit wouldn’t include some political talk.
Scandal‘s Kerry Washington kicked things off by saying “a lot of people right now are saying that actors shouldn’t express their opinions when it comes to politics, but the truth is that actors are activists no matter what because we embody the worth and humanity of all people.”
Then noted activist, investor, and actor Ashton Kutcher took the stage to announce the first award of the night, and doubled down on Kerry’s sentiments. His opening remarks welcomed “fellow SAG-AFTRA members, and everyone at home, and everyone at airports that belong in my America.” He continued, “YOU are part of the fabric of who we are, and we love you and we welcome you.”
These comments follow red carpet protests from fellow actors such The Big Bang Theory‘s Simon Helberg and his wife.
Based on Hollywood’s usual feelings about human rights atrocities, this most certainly will not be the last time this topic comes up throughout the night.