Madonna and Robert de Niro join 200 in open letter about Covid-19

Madonna and Robert de Niro join 200 celebrities and scientists calling for the world not to ‘return to normal’ after Covid-19 lockdowns and stop ‘the pursuit of consumerism’

  • Celebrities Madonna and Robert de Niro, and Nobel Prize winners among 200
  • Cate Blanchett, Jane Fonda, Marion Cotillard and Monica Bellucci also signed 
  • Plea to end unbridled consumerism and ‘radical transformation’ of economies 
  • Pandemic a tragedy but is a chance for humanity to ‘examine what is essential’
  • Confirmed cases around the world stand at 3,691,683, with 258,256 fatalities 

A host of celebrities and scientists including Madonna, Robert de Niro and a clutch of Nobel Prize winners have called for radical change in the world rather than ‘a return to normal’ after the coronavirus lockdowns.

Hollywood stars Cate Blanchett, Jane Fonda, Marion Cotillard and Monica Bellucci also added their names to the open letter published in the French daily Le Monde.

The signatories are pleading for an end to unbridled consumerism and a ‘radical transformation’ of economies to help save the planet. 

The movement has been penned and led by actress Juliette Binoche and astrophysicist Aurélien Barrau. 

A full list of the 200 signatories is published in this article (below). 

‘Radical transformation’ – Material Girl singer Madonna was among 200 people (listed below) who signed the open letter calling on leaders to use the coronavirus crisis to change the way we live

Pictured: Taxi Driver actor and Hollywood star Robert de Niro was one of the many signatories

‘We believe it is unthinkable to “go back to normal”,’ said the letter which was also signed by Nobel laureates for medicine, chemistry and physics, as well as peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus.

They said the pandemic was a tragedy but it was a chance for humanity to ‘examine what is essential’.

‘Adjustments are not enough. The problem is systemic,’ the letter added.

‘The ongoing ecological catastrophe is a meta-crisis. Unlike a pandemic… a global ecological collapse will have immeasurable consequences,’ it said.

The 200 signatories (listed below) said it was time for leaders ‘to leave behind the unsustainable logic that still prevails and to undertake a profound overhaul of our goals, values, and economies.

First chunk: the opening statements published in the French daily Le Monde, urging world leaders to ‘act now’

Second chunk: the author is urging world leaders and thinkers to rethink ideas around productivity and consumerism

Third chunk: the signatories agree an urgent renewal of a political system that priorities social equity is essential

Pictured: Canadian-American astrophysicist James Peebles, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2019, also signed the letter 

Pictured: signatory and actress Jane Fonda was among the 200 people who are urging change

‘The pursuit of consumerism and an obsession with productivity have led us to deny the value of life itself: that of plants, that of animals, and that of a great number of human beings,’ the short letter added.

‘Pollution, climate change, and the destruction of our remaining natural zones has brought the world to a breaking point.’

Confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world currently stand at 3,691,683, with 258,256 fatalities, according to recent data from Johns Hopkins University.

The US is the world leader in infection rates, now reaching 1,206,886, and with 71,220 deaths. 

The letter comes as several global economies begin easing lockdown measures, which some health experts have warned could spark a ‘second wave’ of the virus. 

Who signed the open letter?  

Lynsey Addario, senior reporter; Isabelle Adjani, actress; Roberto Alagna, opera singer; Pedro Almodovar, film director; Santiago Amigorena, writer; Angela, singer; Adria Arjona, actress; Yann Arthus-Bertrand, photographer, film director; Ariane Ascaride, actress; Olivier Assayas, film director; Josiane Balasko, actress; Jeanne Balibar, actress; Bang Hai Ja, painter; Javier Bardem, actor; Aurélien Barrau,astrophysicist, honorary member of the Institut universitaire de France; Mikhail Baryshnikov, dancer, choreographer; Nathalie Baye, actress; Emmanuelle Béart, actress; Jean Bellorini, theater director; Monica Bellucci, actress; Alain Benoit, physicist, Academy of Sciences; Charles Berling, actor; Juliette Binoche, actress; Benjamin Biolay, singer; Dominique Blanc, actress; Cate Blanchett, actress; Gilles Bœuf, former president of the National Museum of Natural History; Valérie Bonneton,actress; Aurelien Bory, theater director; Miguel Bosé, actor, singer; Stéphane Braunschweig, theater director; Stéphane Brizé, film director; Irina Brook, theater director; Peter Brook, theater director; Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, actress, film director; Khatia Buniatishvili, pianist; Florence Burgat, former president of the National Museum of Natural History; Guillaume Canet, actor, film director; Anne Carson, poet, writer, Academy of Arts and Sciences; Michel Cassé, astrophysicist;Aaron Ciechanover, Nobel Prize in Chemistry; François Civil, actor; François Cluzet, actor; Isabel Coixet, film director; Gregory Colbert, photographer, film director; Paolo Conte, singer; Marion Cotillard, actress; Camille Cottin, actress; Penélope Cruz, actress; Alfonso Cuaron, film director; Willem Dafoe , actor; Béatrice Dalle, actress; Alain Damasio, writer; Ricardo Darin, actor; Cécile de France, actress; Robert De Niro,actor; Annick de Souzenelle, writer; Johann Deisenhofer, biochemist, Nobel Prize in chemistry; Kate del Castillo, actress; Miguel Delibes Castro, biologist, Royal Spanish Academy of Sciences; Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, theater director; Claire Denis, film director; Philippe Descola, anthropologist, CNRS gold medal; Virginie Despentes, writer; Alexandre Desplat, musicwriter; Arnaud Desplechin, film director; Natalie Dessay, opera singer; Cyril Dion, writer, film director; Hervé Dole,astrophysicist, honorary member of the Institut universitaire de France; Adam Driver, actor; Jacques Dubochet, Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Diane Dufresne, singer; Thomas Dutronc, singer; Lars Eidinger , actor; Olafur Eliasson, plastic artist, sculptor; Marianne Faithfull , singer; Pierre Fayet, member of the Academy of Sciences; Abel Ferrara, film director; Albert Fert , Physic’s Nobel Prize; Ralph Fiennes, actor; Edmond Fischer, biochemist, Nobel Prize in medicine; Jane Fonda, actress;Joachim Frank, Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, actor; Marie-Agnès Gillot, prima ballerina; Amos Gitaï, film director; Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu, film director; Timothy Gowers, Fields Mathematics Medal; Eva Green, actress; Sylvie Guillem, prima ballerina; Ben Hardy, actor; Serge Haroche, Physic’s Nobel Prize; Dudley R. Herschbach, Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Roald Hoffmann, Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Rob Hopkins, founder of cities in transition; Nicolas Hulot,honorary president of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation for Nature and Man; Imany, singer; Jeremy Irons, actor; Agnès Jaoui, actor, film director; Jim Jarmusch, film director; Vaughan Jones, Fields Mathematics Medal; Spike Jonze, film director; Camellia Jordana, singer; Jean Jouzel, climatologist, Vetlesen Prize; Anish Kapoor, sculptor, painter; Naomi Kawase, film director; Sandrine Kiberlain, actress; Angelique Kidjo, singer; Naomi Klein, writer; Brian Kobilka,Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Hirokazu Kore-eda, film director; Panos Koutras , film director; Antjie Krog, poetess; The Great Sophie, singer; Ludovic Lagarde, theater director; Mélanie Laurent, actress; Bernard Lavilliers, singer; Yvon Le Maho, ecophysiologist, member of the French Academy of Sciences; Roland Lehoucq, astrophysicist; Gilles Lellouche, actor, film director; Christian Louboutin, designer; Roderick MacKinnon, Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Madonna, singer; Masha Makeïeff,theater director; Claude Makélélé, soccer player; Ald Al Malik, rap artist; Rooney Mara, actress; Ricky Martin, singer; Carmen Maura, actress; Michel Mayor, Physic’s Nobel Prize; Medina, rap artist; Melody Gardot, singer; Arturo Menchaca Rocha , physicist, former president of the Mexican Academy of Sciences; Raoni Metuktire , Raoni Indian Chief; Julianne Moore , actress; Wajdi Mouawad , theater director, writer; Gérard Mouroux, Physic’s Nobel Prize; Nana Mouskouri,singer; Yael Naim, singer; Jean-Luc Nancy, philosophize; Guillaume Néry, freediving world champion; Pierre Niney, actor; Michaël Ondaatje, writer; Thomas Ostermeier, theater director; Rithy Panh, film director; Vanessa Paradis, singer, actress; James Peebles, Physic’s Nobel Prize; Corine Pelluchon, philosophize; Joaquin Phoenix, actor; Apple, singer; Iggy Pop, singer; Olivier Py, theater director; Radu Mihaileanu, film director;Susheela Raman , singer; Edgar Ramirez, actor; Charlotte Rampling, actress; Raphael, singer; Eric Reinhardt , writer; Resident, singer; Jean-Michel Ribes, film director; Matthieu Ricard, buddhist monk; Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize in Medicine; Isabella Rossellini, actress; Cecilia Roth, actress; Carlo Rovelli, physicist, honorary member of the Institut universitaire de France; Paolo Roversi, photographer; Ludivine Sagnier, actress; Shaka Ponk(Sam and Frah), singers; Vandana Shiva, philosophize, writer; Abderrahmane Sissako, film director; Gustaf Skarsgard, actor; Sorrentino Paolo, film director; Sabrina Speich, oceanographer, Albert Defant medal; Sting, singer; James Fraser Stoddart, Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Barbra Streisand, singer, actress, film director; Malgorzata Szumowska, film director; Béla Tarr, film director; Bertrand Tavernier, film director; Alexandre Tharaud, pianist; James Thierré, theater director, dancer;Mélanie Thierry, actress; Tran Anh Hung , film director; Jean-Louis Trintignant, actor; Karin Viard, actress; Rufus Wainwright, singer; Lulu Wang, film director; Paul Watson, Navigator, writer; Wim Wenders, film director; Stanley Whittingham, Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Sonia Wieder-Atherton, cellist; Frank Wilczek, Physic’s Nobel Prize; Olivia Wilde, actress; Christophe Willem, singer; Bob Wilson, theater director; Lambert Wilson, actor;David Wineland, Physic’s Nobel Prize; Xuan Thuan Trinh, astrophysicist; Muhammad Yunus, economist, Nobel Peace Prize; Zazie, singer. 

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