The politics of Dwayne Johnson—one of our most bankable actors—have always been a little hard to place. Early in the former WWE star's career, it seemed like he leaned more to the right, speaking at the 2000 Republican National Convention. In 2016, he didn't endorse a presidential candidate—though he has mentioned his disdain for President Trump. And even though he went so far with a presidential bid that he filed a campaign committee called “Run the Rock 2020” with the Federal Election Commission, he's never been too outspoken politically, remaining more neutral than anything.
But in an eight-minute-long video Johnson posted to Instagram and Twitter on Thursday, there’s no mistaking which side he’s on. In response to the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police last week—and in support of the thousands of people protesting for justice across the country—Johnson advocated for the Black Lives Matter movement and criticized President Trump without naming him. Throughout the speech, Johnson repeats: “Where are you? Where is our leader?”
“Where is our compassionate leader who’s going to step up to our country who’s down on its knees, and extend a hand and say, ‘You stand up, stand up with me because I got you. I hear you, I’m listening to you,’” Johnson says. “‘And you have my word that I’m going to do everything in my power, until my dying day, my last breath, to do everything I can to create the change that is needed, to normalize equality because black lives matter.’ Where are you?”
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) June 4, 2020
Johnson’s words follow his recent posts demanding justice for Floyd’s death—and even further back, his complicated political history. Even though he didn’t go through with his 2020 presidential bid, he’s long been vocal about ending gun violence, and supporting American troops. As for his presidential endorsements, he told Rolling Stone in 2018 that he voted for Barack Obama twice, but did not vote in the 2016 election. Though, he did say, “The next elections, in 2020, I think I’ll be a little bit more vocal in who I support.” With Thursday’s video, he’s following through on it.
Past few days I’ve been stunned trying make sense of George Floyd’s death. The video. The plea for breath. The callous response. The racism. The killing. This is our ongoing disease. I’ve had cops in my family. Good men. And there’s a cop code, granting you the authority to use force if your life is in danger. But when a man is handcuffed, on the ground, no longer a threat, with your brothers in arms standing around watching and he struggles to say, “please I can’t breathe” when your knee is on his neck.. not his back, but his neck - cutting off his air. Cop code must become moral code. Ethics code. HUMANITY code. Knowing that if you don’t ease up, then that man is going to die. So when you decide to not ease up, your intention is to kill. And that’s what this was. George Floyd, said “officer I can’t breathe” as he struggled for air. He said these words a total of 15 times. Not once. Not twice. 15 times. These officers will be charged, I’m positive of that. Held accountable. But then where’s the greater accountability? The leadership to healing. More importantly, the leadership to EQUALITY. We ultimately win when we can normalize equality. I’m so sorry to the Floyd family. My heart breaks for you. Let the process begin now. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #NormalizeEquality
A post shared by therock (@therock) on May 28, 2020 at 10:30pm PDT
“We must become the leaders we are looking for,” he said. “I’ll ask it one more time: Where are you? Where is that compassionate leader who steps up and takes accountability for his country and all the people in our country? Where are you? I’ll tell you what, we’re here. We’re all here.”
Johnson joins the increasing number of celebrities demanding change following Floyd’s death, like John Boyega, who grabbed a megaphone to deliver his own speech in London’s Hyde Park on Wednesday. At the end of Johnson’s video, he says that even with our current lack of leadership, change has already begun.
“The process to change has already begun,” he said near the end of the video. “You can feel it across our country. Change is happening. It’s going to take time. We’re going to get beat up. We’re going to take our lumps. There’s going to be blood, but the process of change has already begun.”
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