Loud and Proud: Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan on supporting Palestinians and against the genocide

She faced potential professional consequences for her stance where she had been “warned” to stop her stance of Palestine as she would not be getting any work.

TASNIM LOKMAN
TASNIM LOKMAN
29 May 2024 07:41pm
Nicola Coughlan attends the "Big Mood" New York Premiere at The Whitby Hotel on April 04, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/AFP)
Nicola Coughlan attends the "Big Mood" New York Premiere at The Whitby Hotel on April 04, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/AFP)
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Irish actress Nicola Coughlan has not only consistently been wearing the Artists4Ceasefire pin during public events but she has also been speaking vocally about the Occupation of Palestine by Israel and the relentless bombing and destruction since Oct 7.

Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington in the Netflix series Bridgerton, in various interviews said that raising awareness about what’s happening in Palestine was important to her and that her advocacy stems from a sense of moral responsibility due to her privileged position as a successful actress and a white woman.

“It’s very important for me because I feel like I’m a very privileged person. I’m doing my dream job and I'm getting to travel the world, but then I’m hyper-aware of what’s happening in Rafah at the moment,” she told USA Today recently.

Coughlan revealed that her father was part of the Irish army and a member of the United Nations (UN) Truce Supervision Organisation dedicated to maintaining peace in the Middle East, and that her family lived in Jerusalem in the late 70s, which further adds a personal dimension to her stance.

“And I just feel, if I have this global platform, which I do at the minute, I think if I can hopefully raise funds for aid organisations — I have a fundraiser on my Instagram right now for Medical Aid for Palestine and if people would like to donate to that or share it I think it would be a wonderful thing to do.

“I feel very passionately about it. I’m Irish also, so it’s sort of a different perspective,” Coughlan added, referencing the Irish people’s long struggle against British colonial rule and oppression.

Left: Nicola Coughlan attends Netflix's
Left: Nicola Coughlan attends Netflix's "Bridgerton" Season 3 World Premiere Afterparty in NYC at Tavern on the Green on May 13, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/AFP) Right: At Netflix's "Bridgerton Season 3" premiere at Alice Tully Hall on May 13, 2024, in New York City. (Photo by ANDREA RENAULT / AFP)

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As for the pin she wears, it signifies a badge of honour from Artists4Ceasefire, an organisation that rallies artists and celebrities to advocate for peace.

Earlier this year, she and over 400 individuals from the entertainment industry signed a letter to American President Joe Biden, urging him to call for a ceasefire.

Coughlan has faced potential professional consequences for her stance, as she revealed to Teen Vogue last month that she had been “warned” to stop as she would not be getting any work if she kept showing solidarity to the Palestinians and speaking out against the genocide.

“I’ve always cared about causes and social justice. To me, it always becomes about supporting all innocent people, which sounds oversimplified, but I think you’ve got to look at situations and just think, Are we supporting innocent people no matter where they’re from, who they are? That’s my drive.”

Coughlan highlighted that “there’s a huge connection between Ireland and Palestine that maybe a lot of people aren’t aware of and a shared history.”

She was quoted saying that people in the entertainment industry told her “You won't get work, you won't do this”. However, she stood her ground stating that her perspective was ‘I don’t want any innocent people to suffer,’ then I’m not worried about people’s reactions.”

Nicola's post on Instagram on October 31, 2023.
Nicola's post on Instagram on October 31, 2023.

The Derry Girls actor was also actively posting pro-Palestine content on Instagram to her four million followers. Earlier this month, she raised awareness about the Israeli military’s invasion of Rafah.

Coughlan has consistently highlighted the trauma and suffering experienced by innocent Palestinians in Gaza, emphasising the importance of supporting all individuals, regardless of their background or nationality.

Additionally, Coughlan has encouraged her followers to take action by sharing information about aid organisations, such as Medical Aid for Palestine, and fundraising efforts to support displaced Palestinian families.

Coughlan has been involved in various social justice causes, such as campaigning for marriage equality in Ireland and marching for reproductive rights.

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“Even before I was on television, I was involved in different causes,” she said in the Teen Vogue interview.

“I went campaigning door-to-door for marriage equality in Ireland, I went on marches for abortion rights. I’ve always cared about causes and social justice... To me, it always becomes about supporting all innocent people, which sounds oversimplified, but I think you’ve got to look at situations and just think, ‘Are we supporting innocent people no matter where they’re from, who they are?’ That’s my drive.”

“It’s a testament to the people that follow me being so kind and generous,” Coughlan said. “I feel like, in the nicest way possible, my opinion on situations doesn’t matter, but because I have a platform and I have a couple of million people on there if I can raise a little bit of money, isn’t that an amazing thing to do? And if you can amplify voices of anyone in the world who’s going through tough situations, I just think, why would you not do that?”

Despite being on a press tour for Season 3 of the Netflix period romantic-comedy Bridgerton, Coughlan has continued to post about Israel’s genocide in Gaza, and raised thousands of dollars through fundraisers she has organised.

She even inspired Bridgerton fans to organise their fundraising efforts online with the "Polins x Care for Gaza" group - named after the romantic connection between her character Penelope and Colin, where they raised funds for Care for Gaza, a non-profit organisation that assists displaced Palestinian families

The first part of “Bridgerton” Season 3 streams May 16 on Netflix, followed by the second batch of episodes launching June 13.

Nicola's posting on Jan 12, 2024.
Nicola's posting on Jan 12, 2024.

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