Actress and environmental activist Ashley Judd has riled the coal industry of Kentucky with her sharp criticism of their sordid practices. In response
July 10, 2010

Actress and environmental activist Ashley Judd has riled the coal industry of Kentucky with her sharp criticism of their sordid practices. In response someone made a poster of Ms. Judd, the point of which was to denigrate her. Hillbilly humor, or something.

(AP) LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A topless photo of Ashley Judd emblazoned on a poster that mocks the actress' outspoken opposition to mountaintop removal mining was on display at a coal industry-sponsored golf tournament in Kentucky.

"Ashley Judd makes a living removing her top, why can't coal miners?" the 5-by-3-foot poster reads in bold, black letters. It was hanging at a golf tournament Wednesday at StoneCrest Golf Course in Prestonsburg, Ky.

Judd is covering her breasts with her hands in the photo, which appears to be from a 2006 issue of Marie Claire magazine.

Judd said in a speech last month to the National Press Club that mountaintop removal, which blasts the tops off mountains to extract coal, is the "rape of Appalachia."


The entire speech was captured by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Dave Neiwert wrote about it here at Crooks and Liars.

On June 9, 2010 artist and activist Ashley Judd spoke at the National Press Club. Her speech on mountaintop removal mining, and her ties to Kentucky, are moving and inspirational.


Ashley Judd's caustic response to the poster and the golfers is below the fold. Judd doesn't suffer fools gladly and pulls no punches with them and their kind.

Statement from Ashley Judd over backlash about recent comments about mountaintop removal

I am proud to be standing with so many Eastern Kentuckians everywhere who are working to build a better future. There's so much potential today, right now, for Eastern Kentucky to proudly and bravely lead the way to a new energy economy in this country, with more jobs and more justice for the people of the Appalachian Mountains.

It is time for a community abused and exploited by outsiders who have never had our best interests at heart to rise and lead our entire country into a renewable energy future. We can and do have the hope and the vision to bring real, diverse jobs, money, health, and generativity that benefits the broader common welfare.

The cost of premature mortality related to coal mining in Eastern Kentucky was 3.1 to 6.2 billion, on average per year. Kentucky's annual net loss related to coal mining is 100 million. This must stop.

When I started speaking out about mountaintop removal, I expected to be attacked personally. I told my husband we should be prepared for it, because the coal companies are cunning, callous and greedy. They use people on the ground as their front, and pit us against one another. However, I know the derogatory and defamatory comments directed at me absolutely pale in comparison to what it is like for those who live every day in the war zone created by mountain top removal mining in our beloved communities and mountains.

Thus, rest assured, I will continue to speak out about the many reasons I’m so proud to be from Eastern Kentucky for so many generations, and also about the things I think can be better. I stand with those whose jobs are lost by increased mechanization, and those who are a terrified to lose the coal jobs they do have, because coal does not allow for other local economies. I stand with those whose land has been stolen from them, whose homes' foundations are cracked and whose water runs orange and black.

I stand with those who are sick from particulate dust and pervasive environmental toxicity related to MTR. I stand with those who grieve dead loves ones, killed on dangerous mining sites, by fly rock, by overloaded coal trucks, by social problems such as addiction related to the despair this mono economy wreaks.

I stand with those who grieve the 800 mountains gone forever, the 2,500 miles of stream irreversibly contaminated. I stand with those who believe we do not have to choose between mountains and jobs, our past and our future. I even stand with those who oppose me. I believe we can work together.

I look forward to the chance to have a real conversation, a civil conversation, as we retire the cynical and superficial coal company-created argument that we must choose between people and mountains.

That is simply false, fear based and fear mongering. The time has come for Appalachia to have a dynamic, diverse economic base that actually supports and perpetuates our inherent richness, rather than destroying and depressing it.

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