“Sorry,” said Ellen Page sheepishly, seven minutes into her Thursday-night appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. “I’m, like, really fired up tonight.” After apologizing, she proceeded to give an impassioned speech on the looming dangers of climate change, how the Trump/Pence administration has helped give rise to more hate crimes, and the complacent media that enables it all.
Page was ostensibly on the show to promote her new Netflix series The Umbrella Academy, but within minutes, she had turned the conversation to the problem of environmental racismand how climate change disproportionately affects people of color. “This is something that’s happening, and it’s happening to the most marginalized people, and we need to be talking about it,” she said. “It’s really serious.”
“Talking about it,” Page said, should not include debates about whether climate change is a real thing. “The urgency is so severe, and yet we have a media that’s barely talking about it,” she said. “We have a media that’s saying it’s a debate whether or not what just happened to Jussie Smollett is a hate crime. It’s absurd! This shit isn’t a debate.”
From there, she connected the dots between what happened to Smollett — who, according to police, was beaten by men shouting racist and homophobic slurs who wrapped a rope around his neck — and the anti-LGBTQ policies of both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
“This is what happens,” she said. “If you are in a position of power, and you hate people, and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering — what do you think is going to happen? Kids are going to be abused, and they’re going to kill themselves. People are going to be beaten on the street.”
There’s data to back up Page’s claims. A study last year by Loyola University Chicago School of Law professor Stephen Rushin and University of Alabama at Birmingham economics professor Griffin Sims Edwards found that Trump’s rise to power was associated with “a statistically significant surge in reported hate crimes across the United States,” even after they controlled their data for other possible explanations.
“It was not just Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric throughout the political campaign that caused hate crimes to increase,” they argue. Instead, “it was Trump’s subsequent election as President of the United States that validated this rhetoric in the eyes of perpetrators and fueled the hate crime surge.”
“I have traveled the world and I have met the most marginalized people you could meet,” Page concluded on The Late Show. “I am lucky to have this time and the privilege to say this. This needs to fucking stop.”
You can watch the full clip above.
By Constance Grady | VOX