Fact Check

Did Jane Fonda Say, 'There'd Be No Climate Crisis if It Wasn't for Racism'?

We found the origins of this quote on "The Kelly Clarkson Show."

Published Jan. 27, 2023

Actress and climate activist Jane Fonda is pictured in Solvay, Minnesota on June 7, 2021. (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images) (KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)
Actress and climate activist Jane Fonda is pictured in Solvay, Minnesota on June 7, 2021. (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)
Film actor and activist Jane Fonda said, "There'd be no climate crisis if it wasn't for racism."

On Jan. 23, 2023, film actor and activist Jane Fonda appeared as a guest on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" and purportedly said, "There'd be no climate crisis if it wasn't for racism."

After checking the episode of Clarkson's show, we were able to confirm that Fonda did say these words.

This wasn't the first time we've covered Fonda. In 2003, we reported on a claim that said she and her ex-husband Ted Turner were refused service at a steakhouse run by a Vietnam War veteran. We also published our findings about a rumor that said she supposedly turned over smuggled messages to the captors of U.S. prisoners of war.

As for Fonda's brief remark about how "there'd be no climate crisis if it wasn't for racism," it was picked up in a number of tweets that received thousands of engagements.

One such tweet showed a still frame from the episode, but not a video of the moment.

On the episode of "The Kelly Clarkson Show," Fonda was joined by her fellow "80 for Brady" co-stars Rita Moreno, Lily Tomlin, and Sally Field.

We transcribed the full remarks made by Clarkson, Fonda, and Moreno, which included the sentence, "There'd be no climate crisis if it wasn't for racism."

Clarkson: Besides acting, you're all known for social activism. Is that sense of responsibility something that you've always had or do you feel like you have that, because you're in the spotlight, you have the opportunity?

Fonda: For me, it was learning about the Vietnam War and when I really understood what that was about, I couldn't not do anything, except try to join the movement to stop it. And that was where I started.

Clarkson: Cause you were pretty active even after that.

Fonda: Yeah, well, you can take anything. Sexism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, whatever, the war. And if you really get into it and study it and learn about it and the history of it and everything's connected. There'd be no climate crisis if it wasn't for racism.

Moreno then asked Fonda to explain what she meant.

Moreno: How do you get to that? Tell me.

Fonda: Where would they put the (beep)? Where would they put the poison and the pollution? They're not gonna put it in Bel Air. They've gotta find some place where poor people or indigenous people or people of color are living. Put it there. They can't fight back. And that's why a big part of the climate movement now has to do with climate justice. The first (audience applauding) ...

Clarkson: It's actually, we just actually covered, it's called "The Descendant" and it's...

Fonda: Oh yeah.

Clarkson: And Questlove was on here and we had people from the the documentary on here and that's part of the problem with Africa Town. They're getting pushed out because they don't have the opportunity for the education to get out, to fight back. And they're just encroaching upon their land.

Fonda: Yeah, yeah.

Clarkson: That they've had since they were. Their ancestors are descendants to people that were kidnapped.

Fonda: Yeah.

Clarkson: You know, it's absolutely true. And I'm glad you actually asked her to explain that because that's important. I don't think people see that, the parallel, or how it's all connected, but 100% true.

The full segment can be watched below, with the moment about Fonda mentioning the climate crisis and racism beginning at around the 4:30 mark.


Mikkelson, Barbara and Snopes Staff. "Jane Fonda at Sir Scott's Oasis Steakhouse." Snopes, 23 Apr. 2003, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jane-fonda-sir-scotts-oasis-steakhouse/.

Mikkelson, David. "Did Jane Fonda Betray US POWs by Handing Over Messages to North Vietnamese Captors?" Snopes, 21 June 2000, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jane-fonda-pows/.

The Kelly Clarkson Show. "'80 for Brady' Stars Open Up About Early Career Harassment & Ongoing Social Activism." YouTube, 23 Jan. 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gfYheo6sHQ.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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