Hollywood star Shailene Woodley opened up about her October 2016 arrest for criminal trespassing after she remained at the Dakota Access Pipeline once it had already been closed off to protesters, claiming that police carried out an invasive strip-search to punish her.
Woodley, 25, emerged as a prominent actor-turned activist in the heat of the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy, which saw droves of protesters travel to the Standing Rock reservation to rail against a piece of infrastructure that was built upon sacred tribal grounds.
Demonstrators complained that the pipeline amounted to unacceptable mistreatment of Native American people and argued that the pipeline could threaten access to clean drinking water for 18 million. Woodley was there when law enforcement descended on the protests and started making arrests left and right.
“I was strip-searched,” she told Marie Claire UK. “Like get naked, turn over, spread your butt cheeks, bend over. They were looking for drugs in my ass.”
“When you’re in a jail cell and they shut that door, you realize no one can save you,” Woodley wondered. “If there’s a fire and they decide not to open the door, you’ll die. You are a caged animal.”
According to Woodley, the humiliation of her arrest and the fact that her mugshot went viral were all worth it because of how passionate she is about saving the environment through activism.
“This world isn’t something to take for granted,” she said. “The only way to address climate change and these radical, detrimental policies is for us, as citizens, to shift our lifestyles. People are too comfortable. We’re complacent in many ways. We need to be willing to get uncomfortable.”
Woodley, who worked for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during his 2016 presidential campaign, hinted last month that she may even run for Congress one of these days.