80’s and 90’s action movie star and martial artist Steven Seagal has made his first big jump into politics. The 69-year-old long-time admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin has just received his party membership card for a pro-Kremlin party.
Steven Seagal has joined the alliance called Just Russia – Patriots – For Truth, the announcement coming via a video posted by the party. This new party was formed earlier this year when three leftists parties, all of which are major Putin supporters, merged into one large party.
Steven Seagal has been a citizen of Russia since 2016. He has also been close friends with Putin for a number of years as Putin is a martial arts fan. Seagal’s expertise in aikido and Putin’s in judo has been one of their main links. In forming their bond over martial arts, the two have since been seen in several martial arts events and demonstrations together.
Steven Seagal gave a welcome speech after the announcement of him joining the party stating he was joining in part to support law enforcement. He also said he was encouraging government crackdowns on businesses that continue to harm the environment.
“We really need to set up a situation where we can investigate, arrest, and prosecute people criminally so that there is results,” Steven Seagal said via Reuters. “Without being able to arrest people, when we just fine them, they are probably making more money off the production of the things that are defiling the environment.”
While the announcement of Steven Seagal joining the Russian party may come as a surprise to some, what raised more eyebrows during the announcement was the fact that Seagal posed for pictures with one of the party leaders, writer Zakhar Prilepin. The Russian writer has often talked about how he enrolled in an army of pro-Russian separatists and while in eastern Ukraine he commanded a combat unit that killed over 14,000 people in a seven-year time span.
For Steven Seagal, though, his choice of politics isn’t the only thing he is coming under fire for. Since the early ‘90s, allegations of sexual misconduct have haunted him time and time again. These allegations resurfaced in 2017 at the beginning of the #MeTooMovement. Actress Portia de Rossi (Ally McBeal, Arrested Development) came out in full detail of how Seagal treated her during her final audition for one of his movies. She tweeted, “My final audition for a Steven Segal movie took place in his office. He told me how important it was to have chemistry off-screen as he sat me down and unzipped his leather pants. I️ ran out and called my agent. Unfazed, she replied, “well, I didn’t know if he was your type.”
De Rossi was not the only one to come out with sexual misconduct allegations. English actress Rachel Grant claims she lost her role in a 2002 Steven Seagal film Out For a Kill after she refused his advances, which Grant describes in horrific detail.
As Grant recalls, she was flown out to Bulgaria by Steven Seagal and the movie’s director so they could run lines together. Seagal then asks the director to leave the room so he could get to know Grant better. He then allegedly poured himself a drink and began to talk dirty to her. He asked her several times to take off her top, which she refused. He then ripped off her top himself before tossing her onto the hotel bed. She got out of there fast.
For a period of time in the early ‘90s, Steven Seagal was one of the biggest action stars, his brutal use of hand-to-hand combat in his movies his calling card. He started with Above the Law, then Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, Out for Justice, and Under Siege. As his career went on, though, he became less popular and almost a caricature of himself with most of his movies going straight-to-video.
Politically speaking, Steven Seagal has expressed his affection for Putin as far back as 2014 when he said in an interview with the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta he considered Vladimir Putin to be “one of the great living world leaders.” Since that time he has leaned heavily in Putin’s favor, so this new appointment with Just Russia – Patriots – For Truth is not a surprising one.