Question Celebrity

John Travolta: A
John Travolta: A "Wild Hog" and an energy hog. (Rob Griffith - AP)
With Hank Stuever
Sunday, April 29, 2007

Flogging the British release of his film "Wild Hogs" recently, John Travolta urged everyone to "do their bit" to combat global warming, reported London's Daily Mail, which quickly calculated that Travolta -- who it says owns at least five aircraft of various sizes, which he parks at his private home/airport in Florida -- leaves an annual "carbon footprint" of pollution nearly 100 times greater than that of the average British citizen. (Knowing your carbon footprint has briefly been the rage in Hollywood and beyond; for once it might be nice if everyone could fit into a size 0.) Travolta's fleet includes a Boeing 707, tricked out with multiple dining rooms and accommodations for a scant 34 passengers in a space that usually carries about 150. Travolta said that even though he is sensitive to the environment, he needs his own planes because it's a big hassle to be a movie star and get around. He also told reporters that the answer to global warming might possibly be to build domed cities in space. (We'll get right on it.) For some, the sky is no limit to ego.

Days later, as if campaigning to become the world's least eco-friendly celebrity, when Travolta landed his stretch-limo of a 707 in Ireland to refuel (there were conflicting reports about whether the landing was routine or prompted by engine problems), it was reported that he was the only one aboard the huge craft. A later report said there was an "entourage" on board. (Johnny Drama? Turtle?)

Now, we all have our thing, our little eco-sin: Some of us still throw away a plastic bottle here and there; some of us drive SUVs. But shouldn't there be open scorn by now for a celebrity who flies his own 707 wherever he likes -- especially scorn from all these green celebrities? Even if you think global warming is a myth (and Travolta has already said he doesn't), what showbiz market value is there in being seen as a whole other kind of wild hog, someone who reconciles his own satisfaction and convenience on such an astounding scale of waste? And how would a concerned (or disgusted) public go about getting that message across to him? I'd suggest "stop seeing his movies," and, usually, that's exactly what we do. But "Wild Hogs," which revels in riding a more Joe Blow big fetish object (a motorcycle) to no place in particular, looks to clear $150 million or more in domestic box office. Fly on, Big John.

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