Morning Show Segment With Climate Activist Recalls "Don't Look Up"

Morning Show Segment With Climate Activist Recalls "Don't Look Up"

When climate activist Miranda Whelehan went on Good Morning Britain to call for the UK to end all new oil licenses, she didn’t expect it to so closely replicate a scene from the 2021 film Don’t Look Up. But social media users quickly noted that the segment plays like a scene from the satirical film, in which scientists played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence appear on a morning talk show to warn the audience about a comet that could destroy the world, only to be dismissed and mocked by the show’s hosts.

Netflix: Leonardo DiCaprio & Jennifer Lawrence's Interview Goes Wrong! | Don’t Look Up, January 2, 2022.

Netflix: Leonardo DiCaprio & Jennifer Lawrence Break Down Don't Look Up | Shot By Shot, December 26, 2021.

Good Morning Britain hosts Richard Madeley and Ranvir Singh similarly responded and belittled Whelehan and the Just Stop Oil movement on which she spoke. After Whelehan emphasized the need to keep oil in the ground, Madeley said: "But you’d accept, wouldn’t you, that it’s a very complicated discussion to be had, it’s a very complicated thing. And this 'Just Stop Oil’ slogan is very playground-ish isn’t it? It’s very Vicky Pollard, quite childish.” Viewers have since criticized Madeley’s behavior for being "patronizing” and "misogynistic.”

Just Stop Oil: Miranda Whelehan | ITV | Good Morning Britain, April 11, 2022.

MSNBC: 'Good Morning Britain' Interview Gives 'Don't Look Up' Vibes | The Mehdi Hasan Show, April 13, 2022.

Why This Matters

Whelehan pointed to the recent IPCC findings that emphasize the seriousness of the situation, and the urgent action needed to prevent climate catastrophe. "We have a moral responsibility to act now,” she said. The public outcry in response to this segment shows that Mandeley’s and Singh’s condescension and irreverence around the climate crisis is becoming increasingly untenable and unpopular. One viewer’s post read: "Absolutely disgusted with Richard Madeley's patronizing attitude towards a young woman raising concerns about the climate emergency. We need a sensible debate about this issue. This discussion is trivializing this most serious issue.”

IPCC: Video message by UN Secretary General at the WGIII AR6 press conference, April 4, 2022.

BBC: UN scientists say it's 'now or never' to limit global warming, April 4, 2022.

Any Press Is Good Press

Whelehan hadn’t seen Don’t Look Up before her interview, but did so after her morning show appearance and saw the similarities. "Now that I’ve watched the film, I understand the references people have been making," Whelehan wrote in an op-ed for the Guardian. "The worst part is that these presenters and journalists think they know better than chief scientists or academics who have been studying the climate crisis for decades, and they refuse to hear otherwise. It is willful blindness and it is going to kill us.”

The interview has been a wake-up call for people to start taking the Just Stop Oil movement more seriously. "In some ways, the Richard Madeley interview has done Just Stop Oil a favor. However, it remains the case that the abusive style of interviewing adopted by Madeley is all too common in parts of the mainstream media,” the organization told USA Today. "It is designed to silence and belittle young people who are fighting for a liveable future. On this occasion, the tactic clearly failed and the message is cutting through."

Democracy Now: Bill McKibben | Latest IPCC Climate Report Underscores “Fossil Fuel Is at the Root of Our Problems,” April 7, 2021.

IEA: A 10-Point Plan to Cut Oil Use, March 18, 2022.