* Asner helped fund Michael Moore‘s 1989 movie Roger & Me.
* Asner has been honored with the ACLU‘s Worker’s Rights Committee Award, the Anne Frank Human Rights Award, the Eugene Debs Award, the Organized Labor Publications Humanitarian Award, and the National Emergency Civil Liberties Award.
* A supporter of MoveOn.org, Asner has given money to a number of Democratic political campaigns, including those of Tom Harkin, Richard Gephardt, and Dennis Kucinich. He has also contributed to organizations such as Defenders of Wildlife, Democracy for America, the Humane Society of the United States, and Progressive Vote.
* Asner’s wife, Cindy, has made political donations to Sherrod Brown, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, and Bernie Sanders. Groups she has funded include the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Midwest Values PAC, and the Progressive Majority.
* Ed Asner advocates gun control, campaign finance reform, and animal rights.
* In the summer of 2006, Asner and such notables as Danny Glover, Cynthia McKinney, Willie Nelson, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Cindy Sheehan, and Lynn Woolsey participated in a type of hunger strike known as a “rolling fast”—sponsored by Code Pink—where each participant, in his or her turn, refrained from eating for one day.
* Actress Morgan Brittany, who supported the John McCain/Sarah Palin Republican ticket during the 2008 presidential election, recalls how her friendship with Asner—which devloped when the two starred together in a stage-play during the infamous Florida recount that marred the 2000 presidential election—was destroyed by Asner’s political intolerance. Says Brittany: “… Every night he [Asner] just loved me and came in and gave me a big hug. Then one night he was going crazy about Gore and Bush, and [Bush allegedly] stealing the election. I’m backstage and I said, ‘Ed, chill, not everybody thinks the way you do.’ Well, where do I begin? I swear. It was like a light switch. He turned to me and said, ‘you’re not a Republican?’ I said, ‘yep.’ And he said, ‘I can’t even look at you. I can’t even talk to you.’ From that moment on, he never spoke to me again, except on stage. This is what we’re dealing with. The intolerance of the left.”
* In 2012 Asner, who supported the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, narrated a nearly eight-minute video that was posted online by the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), titled Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale. The CFT website’s brief description of the video’s plot said: “Things go downhill in a happy and prosperous land after the rich decide they don’t want to pay taxes anymore.” Asner’s narration, which gave voice to numerous OWS themes, included the following:
“[O]ver time, rich people decided they weren’t rich enough, so they came up with ways to get richer. The first way was through tax cuts. They didn’t mind that this meant fewer services for everyone. They said, ‘Why should I care about other, non-rich people?’ I can hire teachers, safety, waste-disposal people to work for me, for less money than taxes cost. And I can keep the rest of my taxes for me.
“A second way rich people got richer was through tax loopholes…. A third way rich people got richer was to pay no taxes at all. This is called tax evasion…. This is illegal, but many did it anyway…. Schools, public safety, the roads, parks, libraries, public transportation all went into decline. The rich people didn’t care. They said, ‘everyone gets what they deserve,’ andthey bought their own teachers, police, garbage collectors, and transportation. They also bought something else: elections….
“When the 99% became upset, the rich people and their politicians said, ‘There is no other way!’ … Meanwhile, instead of investing in things that most people could use, and instead of providing jobs that paid people well like they used to, rich people found they could make more money on Wall Street. … Here, the 1%made money so fast, that they devoted more and more money to it. They took some of that money and sent it far away, where workers had no rights, to produce things that workers used to produce here.
“When ordinary people wondered why rich people needed so much money, the 1% said, ‘Don’t worry. This is good for you too, because it will trickle down from us to you.’” [At this point in the video, the image of a wealthy man urinating on the poor appeared.]
The video then blamed the economic crisis of 2008 on an inequitable tax structure that supposedly benefited only the wealthy. Notably, all the wealthy exploiters (businesspeople and politicians) in the video were white males; the victims and noble public-service employees, by contrast, included black and brown faces as well as white. Said the narration: “People began to say, ‘Maybe rich people have too much money now. And maybe our problems have something to do with the 1% not paying their fair share of taxes.”