What a difference a few months make. In September, James Woods was banned from Twitter. Fast-forward to today: Amid the wildfires devastating California, the actor has turned his feed into a help network, disseminating information about the fires, connecting people to missing loved ones and trying to save animals.Chris Evans and Patton Oswalt are the latest celebrities to praise the two-time Academy Award nominee for his efforts. Captain America told his fans to turn to Woods for helpful information.
These fires are terrifying and devastating. Anyone looking for updates and info, @RealJamesWoods is posting a ton of helpful stuff. Thanks, James.
Praying for everyone involved. And to the @LAFD keep up the amazingly courageous and heroic work. Thank you!
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) November 12, 2018
Oswalt dubbed Woods a “one-man state-wide info network” and praised him for having “saved a bunch of lives” both “human AND animal.” The actor and comedian described Woods’s efforts as “humbling to watch.”
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) November 10, 2018
Hey, Patton. I just heard about your kind words. Thank you so much. Please continue to follow these hashtags we’ve all been using to connect #missing #CaliforniaFire victims with their loved ones. #SoCalFiresJamesWoods (south) and #CampFireJamesWoods (north ). Be safe, my friend! https://t.co/tXmXb8ytm0
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) November 13, 2018
YOU GOT IT. I'll keep checking in, man. You've become a one-man state-wide info network and it's humbling to watch. I'll signal-boost the urgent ones. #SoCalFiresJamesWoods for SOUTH, #CampFireJamesWoods for NORTH. Use them to connect #missing #CaliforniaFire victims! https://t.co/WRCacpJtFP
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) November 13, 2018
Oswalt also joked, “We can fight about politics later,” and that’s perhaps the biggest piece of all this. Woods, a staunch Republican, largely used his feed to share his political views, support Donald Trump and spar with Democrats. It was politics that led to his brief ban from the social network in September — he shared a hoax political meme discouraging men from voting, then refused to delete it. But Woods himself pointed out that this is not a time to be political after someone questioned him about helping Alyssa Milano, the actress and outspoken Democrat, to rescue her horses from an evacuated area. It’s about the most deadly wildfires in California history, which have killed at least 44 people and aren’t even close to being contained.
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) November 9, 2018
His comment even got Donald Trump Jr. to reply in agreement.
Well said and well done @RealJamesWoods! We need to be able to set aside even deep political differences more often to do the right thing and be human. Great example for others to hopefully follow. https://t.co/Of525vl608
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 9, 2018
Woods has tweeted that doing this — for days now, around the clock, using hashtags he created — “is so much more rewarding than arguing politics!!” And he’s good at it. If he’s passing on unverified news, he notes it. He’s @ messaged Walmart to ask the company to open bathrooms at a store for evacuees. He’s encouraged celebs who have praised him, like Oswalt, but also including conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham, to share the bigger news that he posts to get out the information to a wider audience. He’s urged people not to loot. He’s expressed sadness when heartbreaking news comes in. He’s paid tribute to the brave firefighters. He’s shared info about donations.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about it all is that Woods isn’t even in California, where he sold off much of his property now that he’s semi-retired and possibly blacklisted for his conservative views. Or he wasn’t when this started. He’s been visiting the East Coast — some 3,000 miles away. (He grew up in Rhode Island.) “I was just able to marshall the sheer force of my wonderful @Twitter followers to become a kind of hi tech bulletin board to share fire info,” he wrote. When one fan said that they pictured him “sitting in front of 3 computers in his bathrobe tweeting all day and night with coffee going straight into his veins,” he jokingly replied, “Are you in the house?” At night, when Woods goes to bed, after staying up until the wee hours, he tells his 1.8 million followers to keep things going using his hashtags. He’s pushed away any type of praise too, crediting his followers, saying they are the ones making the effort to spread the word. He called Twitter “a real asset in times of emergency” and said that “using a dedicated hashtag like we did (
#CampFireJamesWoods) gave people searching for loved ones a ‘central station’ to communicate with each other.”
It’s unclear whether Woods is getting help — he must be, based on the massive amount of information he’s sifting through — but he’s not going to stop long enough to discuss it. Yahoo reached out to try to speak with him, but his rep thanked us for the inquiry and said, “He is not doing any press at this time.” Seriously: three computers, bathrobe, coffee.
Twitter isn’t commenting either. Just a few months ago, Woods lashed out at the company when it temporarily locked his account; he bashed the CEO during an interview with the AP. “Free speech is free speech — it’s not Jack Dorsey’s version of free speech,” Woods said. “This is not about a celebrity being muzzled. This is about an American being silenced — one tweet at a time.” And when he returned to it, in early October, he complained about it immediately. But right now, there are no complaints — just tweets and, seemingly, goodwill.
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