Actress and left-wing activist Susan Sarandon has claimed she was recently denied security clearance for a visit to the White House – and that the government has been tapping her phone.
The Oscar winner, who has vehemently condemned the war in Iraq, made the claims on Sunday during a Q&A session at the Tribeca Film Festival – an 11-day event in New York’s Lower Manhattan.
One audience member asked whether Sarandon, who was answering questions alongside documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, believed she was under surveillance by the government.
‘We know we’re under surveillance,’ Sarandon said: ‘I’ve had my phone tapped.’
She added: ‘I was denied a security clearance to go to the White House and I don’t know why.’ She asked the audience member jokingly: ‘Do you know why?’
Sarandon said she knew she was being watched by the government as she had twice seen a file held on her through Freedom of Information requests, the Daily Beast reported.
Moore, who directed Fahrenheit 9/11 and Capitalism: A Love Story, said he would not be surprised if ‘somebody, somewhere’ has subjected him to surveillance. ‘As it should be,’ he laughed.
The White House snub suggests Sarandon’s activism – which has spanned four decades – is deemed troubling by the government.
And despite claiming she does not know why she was denied clearance, the actress must be more aware than she let on.
Sarandon has been actively involved in promoting liberal political causes and supporting human rights, donating money and lending her voice and recognisable face to campaigns since the 1980s.
During presidential elections, she has thrown her support behind Democratic and independent candidates, such as Ralph Nader in 2000, running as co-chair of his National Steering Committee.
In 2004, she signed a petition urging people to vote for John Kerry. Following the election, she called the U.S. elections to be monitored by international bodies.
ACTING OUT: SUSAN THE ACTIVIST
Sarandon’s recent rejection from the White House could indicate that her outspoken activism is deemed troubling by the government.
She has been an activist – promoting liberal political causes and supporting human rights – for four decades. She has donated funds and lent her voice and face to campaigns.
Alongside anti-war activists such as Cindy Sheehan, Sarandon has taken part in protests against the 2003 invasion of Iraq and in support of withdrawing troops.
She has spoken out for gay rights and thrown her support behind Democratic presidential candidates in previous elections – even calling for international bodies to monitor U.S. elections in 2004.
Most recently, she has addressed protesters in the Occupy Wall Street movement, encouraging them to fight harder to hold the government accountable.
She also upset Catholics last October when she described the Pope as a ‘Nazi’.