Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Celebrities against slavery: Interview with Vincent Kartheiser of "Madmen" and "Angel"

I had a chance to meet briefly with actor Vincent Kartheiser of the hit TV shows Madmen and Angel, at the Freedom Awards last November. Vincent is new to the modern abolitionist cause and was a guest presenter at the Freedom Awards ceremony last November 7, 2010. He is also a bit of a self-proclaimed uber-hippie in that he has not owned a car in four years, lives in a minimalist house that has no toilet, and he goes to his neighbors to use the restroom when needed.Link
Not sure that's the lifestyle for me, mostly the no toilet borrow the neighbors thing, but I am glad he has turned his attention towards anti-slavery work and I hope the Freedom Awards helped garner future support from this talented actor.

Q: How did you first learn about modern slavery?
A: Through different documentaries and information sent to me from different charities, I know a small amount. When it comes to modern slavery, I actually know very little. I had no idea that there are nearly 30 million real slaves, not just people who are being used by corporations, but people who are actually living in real slave conditions. I didn't realize the number was so high. So I am very fresh in my education of this particular issue.

Q: What does freedom mean to you?
A: Well, you know that's a really good question and it's really difficult to say because it's really hard to say that the choices we make are actually associated with free choice. We're taught at a very young age to fall in line with certain ideas. Even recently I have started to question things I learned and thought I knew. We may be told that this is the right way to go about things and this way is wrong. And that may very well be true, but the idea that I can questions and make up my own mind is freedom.

On a whole different level I am very much free and enjoy many rights and privileges that others don't have. There's a lot of corruption and issues in societies today that take away these privileges for others.

Q: That's an interesting point. I know you met Kevin Bales, President of Free the Slaves, earlier. In one of his books, he compares areas with the most rampant slavery as being like the Wild West. There's severe corruption and lack of law and basic human rights which leads to more injustices and lacks of freedom.
A: Yes, that's true. It's true in American history as well.

Q: Are there any other causes you support?
A: I support a number of causes, but I don't sit on any board of directors or really work hand-in hand with a cause. Most of my work is through anonymous support. I am a big supporter of public transportation, different environmental causes and education, especially for women and children in developing nations.

Q: I understand you have not owned a car in years and you live in LA. How does that work?
A: It works quite well for me. I get rides with people and take the bus to work, but I have not owned a car in four years. It's my little contribution to help prevent pollution.

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