Mark Ruffalo: Corporations know they’re hurting the public, they hide it

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Mark Ruffalo was on The Daily Show promoting his role in Dark Waters, with Anne Hathaway. It’s the true story of a lawyer who took on DuPont after their pollution started killing livestock in West Virginia. It’s based on a story by Nathaniel Rich in the New York Times Magazine about how Mark’s character, Robert Bilott, a local-turned-lawyer, ended up taking on the chemical giant by representing a farmer he knew. Mark is the perfect person to play this as he is committed to and passionate about important causes. I admire him so much and it was a pleasure to watch this interview, especially when he started talking about corporate abuses. They opened with a cute story about him embarrassing his son by being so recognizable around the world.

Your face became known when you became intelligent Hulk. Do people recognize you in Japan? [paraphrased]
They yell ‘Hulk!’ ‘Hulk!’ I walk down the street and people are like ‘Yo Hulk!’ ‘Hulk!’ My son says ‘put your hood up. It’s your hair. You both have the same hair.’

On the true story behind Dark Waters
It was probably the biggest corporate crime and coverup in American history that nobody knew about. With a lawyer that had normally been someone who would defend chemical companies was now in the place of actually defending this farmer that he knew growing up as a boy that insisted that his cows were being poisoned by DuPont.

When you read through this, was there a part of you thinking this was normal?
It felt like a story we keep hearing again and again where a corporation knows that they’re hurting the public, their science shows them [this] and they hide that science and they keep hurting the public anyway – whether we’re talking about opioids, whether we’re talking about climate change, Monsanto, fracking, it’s the same story over and over again. I just saw it so beautifully told. This is a horror story, but it’s real, but it’s also the story of how some legacy corporations in America are killing us. Destroying us. Willfully. They’re doing it simply to make a buck. We see it happening over and over and over again.

We’re talking about it… there’s this distrust of this system that is using us to drain our pocketbooks and lead us to hospitals where we have to pay for our own healthcare after they poison us.

You have heroes in Marvel movies that are heroes because you want to be them. Then you have heroes that are heroes because you don’t want to be them. They’re heroes because their journey is one that a human being has to make that is the difficult choices. That’s what this man was. [It] was a belief that when people learn the truth they will do the right thing.

[From The Daily Show]

I was disappointed, frankly, that the crowd didn’t applaud and whoop when he was talking about how companies are killing people for a buck. He was on an incredible roll and I was fist-pumping. He then made the sad but true point that the healthcare bills will get us next. I got chills watching this and am really looking forward to seeing this movie. Mark sold the hell out of it. Also I really liked what he said about everyday heroes being people who make the hard choices. As for his kid Keen, 18, being embarrassed by him, these celebrity stories about embarrassing their kids give me life. He’s a superhero in the most lucrative franchise in the world and his son just wants him to hide and not acknowledge that. It puts me being told not to come to major events into perspective.

Here’s that interview!

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26 Responses to “Mark Ruffalo: Corporations know they’re hurting the public, they hide it”

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  1. Cidy says:

    He really is such a thoughtful person. I think he is a rare breed of celebrity that practices what they preach to the extent that they can. He stands up for water activists, environmentalists etc. Its really great to see, this was a great interview and a really thoughtful answer.

    I hope that celebrities do better this election and just back a Blue candidate. I know there were problems come 2016 that he was a bit of a Bernie Bro (I could be mistaken but I thought it was him) and to have a preference is totally fine but I hope that whoever gets the nomination gets the support so we can avoid any party splitting.

    Also.. can he collect his friend Scarlett?

    • Betsy says:

      I think he was one of the Bernie Bros and I say this because even now he leaves a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Unlike Susan Sarandon however, he more or less shut up after the election (didn’t she just praise the Trumpian chaos recently?).

      But he has otherwise decent politics as evidenced by his quotes here. I do hope that more people this time just VOTE BLUE for
      Chris and Pete instead of nursing hurts. (And I say this as someone who’s fully expecting to have to pull the lever for Biden or Buttigieg.

      • Darla says:

        It won’t be Buttigeig, he has no AA support.

        I don’t like Ruffalo because of 2016, and I’m not over it, and I will die mad about it, so that’s that. I read on twitter today this great quote about being sympathetic to a lot of the left’s goals, and sharing some of their values, but not being able to stand to be around them. I am so that person. I’m a liberal, not a leftist. But I do share some of their goals, probably many of their goals. But as people, good gawd, I cannot stand to be around them, and as someone who spent the W years in activist circles, believe me, I know of what I speak.

  2. tmbg says:

    I haven’t seen the movie but highly recommend the documentary The Devil We Know. It’s on Netflix and lays the whole story out, showing that DuPont actually wrote in a memo that their chemical (C8) was the devil they knew and they’d keep using it instead of trying something new. They supposedly stopped manufacturing C8 but really all they did was start a company called Chemours, rename C8 GenX, and continue to dump as much as they please.

    It’s fascinating how these executives have zero remorse. I truly believe most must be sociopaths because how could you sleep at night knowing how many people you’re hurting for a lousy buck?

    The whole issue infuriates me to no end.

    • Astrid says:

      I saw the documentary as well. Highly recommend it.

    • Pineapple says:

      tmbg … they have actually done studies and there is a higher rate of sociopaths statistically in Executives than in the normal public. They crave power and have no remorse. They are shame intolerant. They are good traits for business executives. Poor, poor people who work for these nut bars, and their poor, poor families. Not to mention all the humans they harm.

  3. Cathi says:

    And he uses the HULK MEME!!! My heart explodes!

  4. Noodle says:

    Tangentially related: Last night on Reddit there was a story/photos about a woman who heard a crying cat in a tree in the shared backyard area in New York. She went out and the cat was really upset, so she deduced the cat was stuck in the tree. She got a ladder and got the cat down. The cat’s owner came around shortly to collect his cat and Lo and behold! Mark Ruffalo. The woman didn’t know he was her neighbor; he was appreciatively of her trouble and effort to save his poor cat (as you would expect him to be).

  5. Pineapple says:

    I recently saw Mark Ruffalo in a documentary about Arizona … he went there to help the public save their solar industry. Holy Cow … that man, there is not much I wouldn’t do for that man. XO Mark and Keanu. XO

  6. Allergy says:

    Why why why why can’t horrid corporations and loathsome executives be reined in? Why are things like this happening again and again? I’m tired of being furious all the time.
    Love Ruffalo.

    • Betsy says:

      Because of money in politics.

      Because the Republicans on the Court say corporations are people.

      Because no one is reining in dark money.

    • Wilma says:

      The corruptions run deep.
      It needs to be changed from the top down. In that I mean, that it doesn’t really help for people to be aware of it, as long as the people really aren’t involved in making decisions on larger scales. We feel like we keep fighting it because we are fighting it from the ground and up – but it has to go the other way.
      Business owners, politicians, even celebrities – people with weight and money. And they have to do it together.
      Old economical and business structures and cultures needs to be torn apart and built up again. New and better laws to make sure companies can’t get away with stuff, and also to promote good behavior and business ethics. And to protect the people of the country.

      Not saying that people don’t have power, though. Being critical, knowledgeable and enlightened to how we live, shop, behave and get educated is necessary. Most of us live with our eyes closed.
      But it’s also a PRIVILEGE.

      70% of the world don’t have the privilege to choose the right medical care, food, housing etc.
      775 millions are illiterate.
      Awareness doesn’t lead to action without having the means to do so.

      It puts it into perspective, the systems we have installed in the world, in countries, needs to be changed from the top down – only then will people truely be in power.

      This was my TED talk. Thanks for listening.

  7. sue denim says:

    I heard him speak on a panel for a small audience once — he has such a quiet but arresting charisma in person it was breath-taking, and I think it came not just from his looks but from his depth, intelligence, sensitivity. The woman next to me, whom I didn’t know, simply leaned over at one point and said “wow” and I knew exactly what she meant…! Love him even more now for this…

  8. Wisca says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing this movie on one of the streaming services.

  9. Betsy says:

    I really need to start reading Mother Jones. This stuff is in there, it’s known.

    I wish we had an honest media and not a corporate owned one so we could have honest conversations about the damage these corporations are doing, whether or not we absolutely need whatever good they’re producing that creates the damage, what could we do to mitigate the damage or what we could be buying or doing less of. Because for so much of this stuff WE’RE DRIVING THE DEMAND. We can wring our hands about exploited labor and environmental degradation in specific metal mining, but if we always rush out and get the latest phone, we’re part of the problem.

  10. Shirleygailgal says:

    also, Mark in ‘the normal heart’ was brilliant, passionate and glorious….

    • Bettyrose says:

      This. I know he’s famous for super hero films but I knew him first in socially relevant films and that’s how I think of him.

  11. Huh says:

    I’m disappointed not in Ruffalo but in the commentariat resuscitating their meaningless, ancient “Bernie Bro” gripes. Shut it, whiners and get over yourselves, especially as I doubt your activism matches his, or mine. Signed – voted for Hillary

  12. Lala11_7 says:

    I don’t blame corporations for being monsters…I blame GOVERNMENTS for allowing corporations to BECOME monsters….

  13. TG says:

    Fiscal conservative= corporate shill.

  14. Whoosh says:

    He’s a good man. I still believe in capitalism and highly regulated companies however. Just look at socialism (not Bernie’s in-reality-welfare-state-capitalism “socialism”) and how it has caused mass starvations (and deaths) and serious shortages in history. But with capitalism you have to be willing and able to regulate, which means you need plebian/citizen willpower or a government mandated based in a very determined citizenry that recognises this need for heavy regulation. In turn this means educating everyone about ECONOMIC HISTORY. Mark is a good man; he picks good issues and does good work. It’s all moot anyway as, as a planet, we’re still burning hydrocarbons like crazy and are on the pathway to turning Earth in to another Venus.

    • TG says:

      Thanks for the right-wing talking points. None of the current democratic nominees are calling for the government to take control of the means of production. Progressives are asking for action on climate change, free public college and Medicare for all. They want to pay for it by introducing a wealth tax and cutting the bloated military budget. You got a problem with that?

      • Whoosh says:

        “for the government to take control of the means of production.”
        – There’s a huge, huge difference between (1) taking control of the means of production (the spectrum from socialism to hardcore communism) and (2) regulating industry (interventionist capitalism, to correct market failures). This is why people need to be educated about economic history, the quality study of which includes economic policy. For starters, people like Matt Stoller have some fantastic ideas for regulation, esp in the tech age. The fact that you’re trying to characterise my point as right-wing just proves my point on the importance of educating EVERYONE on economic history.
        My point about socialism in history was in response to the possibility of people think all corporations are evil and how Mark’s observation about corporate crimes and corporations should be put into perspective. I wasn’t saying hardcore socialism was what progressives/Dems are asking for. Corporations, when regulated heavily (including shutting them down entirely or penalising them so severely) serve a useful function as in providing the basis for a working, efficient market (not centrally planned as in communist or socialist) economy that can keep mass starvations, food and other shortages, etc (Chinese and Soviet union case studies), out of the picture.

        “They want to pay for it by introducing a wealth tax and cutting the bloated military budget. You got a problem with that?”
        – I identify as a progressive myself and absolutely you guys in the US have a shocking military budget. Why would I have a problem with that? If you do cut your military budget by at least 90%, all those things are perfectly doable.

  15. TG says:

    ‘If you do cut your military budget by at least 90%, all those things are perfectly doable.”

    At least 90%? Where did you pluck that figure from? The last increase in the military budget would pay for free public college. Medicare for all would be cheaper than the current system and in the long term renewable energy would be cheaper than energy powered by fossil fuel.