James Cameron labelled climate change 'hypocrite'

A A A

The eco-themed science fiction movie Avatar helped cement James Cameron's standing as one of Hollywood's most strident environmentalists.

Now, in a gesture that perfectly captures the fractious spirit of a polarised nation, comes the inevitable backlash: a political attack advert entitled "James Cameron – Hypocrite".

A week ago, it emerged that the Oscar-winning film director had put his money where his mouth is by donating $1m of his personal fortune to opponents of Proposition 23, a ballot measure facing voters in California at the coming mid-term elections which would suspend the state's landmark law combating climate change. Supporters of the proposition weren't going to take that lying down, though. On Thursday, they returned fire by releasing a short film that claims to highlight a Titanic-sized gulf between Mr Cameron's somewhat magisterial proclamations regarding the importance of combating climate change, and his actual lifestyle.

"He's fighting Proposition 23 because he says we should use less fossil fuel," notes the film. "But if Cameron succeeds, it will mean higher prices and job losses." It proceeds to quote a recent newspaper interview in which he discussed global warming, telling a reporter that "we are going to have to live with less". The camera then cuts to aerial footage of the three adjacent homes that Cameron inhabits in the hills of Malibu. Although they each have heated swimming pools, and together boast more than 24,000 sq ft of living space, the properties have not a single energy-saving solar panel or windmill between them. "He also owns a 100-acre ranch in Santa Barbara, a JetRanger helicopter, three Harleys, a Corvette, a Ducati, a Ford GT, a collection of dirt bikes, a yacht, a Humvee fire truck, and a fleet of submarines," continues the narrator. "And yet he demands WE live with less? James Cameron: HYPOCRITE."

Although the film conveniently ignores the fact that Cameron pays to off-set his personal carbon emissions, its aggressive tone will concern many of Hollywood's liberal elite, who preach green living while driving Porsches and clocking up the air miles in first class. In its first two days, the attack ad clocked-up 120,000 views on YouTube.

Mr Cameron is hardly the only prominent celebrity to oppose the ballot measure. Other high-profile individuals campaigning against it include David Arquette, Benjamin Bratt, and California's Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger – a prime candidate for a similar attack advert, since he drives an SUV and commutes to Sacramento from his home in Los Angeles by private jet.

In the current economic climate, knocking the lifestyles of the rich and famous is likely to strike a chord. And given the brouhaha that greeted revelations about Al Gore's carbon footprint, the makers of "James Cameron – Hypocrite", who in 2009 produced a contentious documentary disputing climate change called Not Evil Just Wrong, may be tapping a rich rhetorical vein.

Behind the point-scoring lies an important political battle. Proposition 23 seeks to suspend AB 23, California's tough greenhouse-reduction law, until unemployment in the state drops below 5.5 per cent for four consecutive quarters, a figure that is virtually unobtainable. It was somewhat cynically financed by Tesoro and Valero, two oil companies based in Texas.

The ballot measure is one of many facing voters at the 2 November elections which have been sponsored by corporations exploiting a recent relaxation of funding rules by the US Supreme Court, which gave private firms the right to donate money (anonymously, if they want) to single-issue advocacy groups. That ruling has led to an explosion in the number of negative advertisements flooding the airwaves in this election season. A record $3bn will have been spent on adverts, most of which endorse right-wing causes, by the time that voters head to the polls in nine days' time.

At present, polls suggest that Proposition 23 will be closely fought, with a slim majority of voters in California currently opposing it. However, the oil industry may take comfort in the fact that all of those polls were conducted several days before "James Cameron – Hypocrite" was released.

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager (infrastructure, upgrades, rollouts)

£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

MI Analyst and SQL Developer (SQL, SSAS, SSRS)

£28000 - £32500 Per Annum + 28 days holiday, pension, discounts and more: Clea...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Systems & Data Lead – Oxfordshire – Permanent – Up to £24k

£20000 - £24000 Per Annum 28 days holiday, free parking, pension: Clearwater P...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?