The Celebrity Campaign Against Fracking: How Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon Rallied an Outcry

Yoko Ono, her son Sean Lennon, and more than 180 other artists have come together to lend their star power to the anti-fracking cause.

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Mike Coppola / J.K. Rowlings

EW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: (L-R) Actor Mark Ruffalo, , professor of engineering at Cornell University, Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Sean Lennon, and Yoko Ono pose for a picture at the Artists Against Fracking Coalition Event at Paley Center For Media on August 29, 2012 in New York City.

Yoko Ono, her son Sean Lennon, and more than 180 other artists have come together to lend their star power to the anti-fracking cause.

Earlier this week, they announced the formation of Artists Against Fracking at a Manhattan news conference. Ono and Lennon said they wrote a letter to New York Governor Cuomo asking him not to allow the controversial hydraulic fracturing in upstate New York’s Marcellus Shale because it could contaminate the state’s watersheds — including New York City’s water supply.

(MORE: Why the Shale Gas Industry Needs Regulations for Fracking)

Stars who are a part of this coalition include former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Lady Gaga, Jimmy Fallon, Alec Baldwin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway, Julianne Moore, Uma Thurman, Hugh Jackman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Zooey Deschanel.

Mark Ruffalo and Olivia Wilde tweeted their support for Artists Against Fracking.

(COVER: The Future Of Oil)

In his August 27th New York Times editorial, Sean Lennon wrote a personal account of the time he spent as a child on his family’s idyllic farm in the Catskills, “skipping stones with my father and drinking unpasteurized milk.”  He says he and his mother started researching hydro-fracking a few months ago when gas companies came to town looking to build hydro-fracking infrastructure. He writes:

Though my father died when I was 5, I have always felt lucky to live on land he loved dearly; land in an area that is now on the verge of being destroyed.

All this high-profile celebrity support for the anti-fracking cause has put the gas companies on the defensive.  Today we noticed this promoted tweet from the American Natural Gas Alliance regarding Sean Lennon’s August 27th New York Times op-ed against fracking. screengrab

(MORE: Climate Rules: Why Natural Gas Will Be the Big Winner in New Greenhouse Gas Regulations)

The American Natural Gas Alliance released a statement a couple of days ago asking Sean Lennon to get his facts straight:

Many of us at ANGA are huge fans of the Beatles and the Lennon legacy and so it gives us no pleasure to say that in describing his world of honeybees and raspberries Sean echoes his father’s more imaginative periods and does not seem inclined toward a serious discussion about natural gas…

Sean claims natural gas could somehow “render the climate unlivable” and “raise the price of food and make coastlines unstable for generations.” Natural gas can do all that?  Are the New York Times editorial page fact checkers all at the beach this week?

(MORE: Fracked: Why Chesapeake Energy’s Aubrey McClendon is in Hot Water)

There’s a July 4th letter on Yoko Ono’s website addressed to Cuomo, though the New York Times points out that it’s unclear whether the Governor received this letter.  “Right now, some people are trying to make easy money, and meanwhile ruin this country’s future, by a thing called ‘fracking,’” Ono wrote.

On Access Hollywood yesterday, Sean Lennon said Yoko’s involvement with Artists Against Fracking is an example of how she turns “negative energy” into “positive creative force.”

The two also performed their anti-fracking protest song on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on July 9th:

WATCH: Late-Night Laughs

MORE: Obama’s Energy Strategy: All of the Above—and a Lot of Oil

James McMurtry
James McMurtry

Lookethere ... a nerd made friends with all the cool kids, and all he had to do was take a couple hits off their kool-aide.

Wonder where all the other nerds are? I guess they're busy creating NORTH AMERICAN ENERGY INDEPENDENCE. 

Go, fracking nerds, go. Frack it. 


No evidence or even one example of fraking harming the environment. Nothing else to say, really, except they're wasting their time and definitely a little mental.


Too bad neither one of them can sing.


Aren't they a bit late to the discussion? This issue has only been discussed for over 4 years in New York! Suddenly Yoko and Sean appear out of total irrelevancy and are champions of this cause?  As champions they provide uninformed and factually incorrect opinions about hydraulic fracturing. See it for what it is, a publicity stunt. 

Trust the scientists and geologists and safety record from decades of drilling. Over 5,000 wells have been hydraulically fractured around Lake Chautauqua in Western New York and they have award winning water quality. The practice has been around since World War II. It is nothing new, has been done safely for decades, provides jobs and royalty payments to landowners, and allows US citizens to have lower energy costs. Oh, and due to safe natural gas drilling US Carbon Emissions are the lowest they have been since 1992!!!!


Only in America do citizens think artists' thoughts about geology are more more important than geologist's.  Regardless of what you think about fracking, surely these aren't the people you relied on to form that opinion...right?