Angelina Jolie on rising populism: ‘We should know better’

Speaking in Cambodia to promote her Pol Pot-era film “First They Killed My Father,” filmmaker and activist Angelina Jolie said people should know better than to fall for the “old tricks” of populist leaders.

Ms. Jolie was asked to comment on the dangers of rising populism during a BBC interview published Monday.

“This is an old trick and we should know better [than] to fall for it,” the director said. “And I see it rising, and the only thing I can do is use my voice and encourage others. And raise my children to know right and wrong and to have a broader view of the world and to embrace their diversity and other people’s, and respect others.

“And I think that’s all we can do right now, is each and every person — each one of your listeners — we all just have to be the best of ourselves,” she added. “Now more than ever, we really have to rise up and find our rational center, our who-we-are and what-do-we-stand-for. And we know it. We know what’s right and wrong.”

Ms. Jolie didn’t mention a particular country or politician in her remarks on populism.

The Oscar-winning actress wrote an op-ed earlier this month for The New York Times criticizing President Trump’s travel ban and calling on the U.S. to respond to terrorism with facts instead of fear.

Ms. Jolie was reluctant to talk about Mr. Trump specifically in her BBC interview, but said the American people will persevere.

“The American people are bigger than any president,” she said. “I suppose I have faith in my country and in what it is founded on and the values we hold dear. I believe that many of the things that we’re hearing that we feel are based on a sense of spreading fear or hate or dividing people by race or judgement is un-American.

“At this time I think what is amazing is we are seeing people around the world start to speak out for their civil liberties and rights and what they feel,” she added. “In America, we are hearing people say ‘this is un-American to me, this is unconstitutional to me. And this is who I am.’”

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