Jeremy Irons Calls Brexit and Trump Votes ‘A Cry for Help’

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5th Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony
Jeremy Irons at the Breakthrough Prize Awards. Photo: C Flanigan/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Accompanied by his mixed terrier, Smudge, on the red carpet at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, actor Jeremy Irons explained his fear of a “revolution” following Britain’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election. “I think both the Brexit vote and Trump, that was a cry for help from people who felt they were being ignored,” Irons told Vulture at the 5th annual Breakthrough Prize, where he was a presenter. “We’re going through a slow revolution when in 20, 30 years we’ll look back and see it started with the collapse of Lehman Brothers when we realized that unregulated capitalism is like unregulated water: It will drown you.”

While Irons believes that capitalism is “one of the greatest systems, if not the greatest system,” he thinks it requires reform and regulation. “It has to be regulated otherwise it sweeps away the poor, usually. And I think we have to address that. I think the Brexit vote and Trump are both the same thing — what those voters were saying is, We feel government isn’t doing anything for us,” said Irons. “One of the reasons government, I think, isn’t doing anything for the poor or for society as a whole is because governments are bound by global capitalism and all their decisions are about trade. But there has to be other ways to run countries than economics. We have to think about ideas and social ideas.”

Jeremy Irons on Trump and Brexit