James Cromwell and J.G. Hertzler both played pivotal roles in the Star Trek universe. Cromwell portrayed the character Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Enterprise. His character was famous in the Star Trek universe for constructing and piloting the first-ever warp-capable starship built on Earth, the launch of which led to First Contact. Hertzler played the Klingon General Martok in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Martok was a key ally of the Federation during the Dominion War and later became the Klingon Chancellor.
Though the two actors never shared screen time in the Star Trek universe, they did once share the spotlight off-screen. In 2016, the actors were arrested together in upstate New York.
Why Were They Arrested?
Activism brought the two actors together for a protest against fracking held at Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York. According to a press release by the organization that coordinated the protest, We Are Seneca Lake, the actors joined local activists in blocking the entrance of the Crestwood compressor station. They attended the protest with signs that referenced the roles for which they were famous. Cromwell held a sign that said, “We Are Seneca Lake, Babe And We Will Not Be FERC-ed” and Hertzler held one that said, “Trekkies Against Crestwood-Con Ed Boldly Going Toward Renewables.”
During the protest, both actors read prepared statements, which were later published by We Are Seneca Lake. In those statements, both Cromwell and Hertzler criticized New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for not preventing fracking in New York. They called on the governor to stand up to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and stop fracking in the state. They also demanded that the governor stand with New York citizens, like themselves, who wanted to end the environmentally harmful practice.
Along with the small group of protesters, Hertzler and Cromwell prevented vehicles from getting in or out of the facility for about an hour before police arrived. They were both arrested when they refused to leave the premises. The other 17 protesters were arrested as well. In their press release, We Are Seneca boasted that the arrests put the total number of arrests for civil disobedience connected to the organization at over 600.
Both Cromwell and Hertzler currently reside in upstate New York, just a few hours’ drive away from each other.
According to USA Today, Hertzler lives in Ulysses, New York, where he was elected as a representative to the town board. Hertzler is deeply involved in local politics, and in 2017, he even ran for one of New York’s Congressional seats, as reported by a local paper, The Ithaca Journal. According to his profile on Ballotpedia, Hertzler withdrew from the race before the primaries.
Cromwell is also deeply involved in local politics but in a slightly different way. According to a profile on the actor in The New Yorker, Cromwell has a long history of environmental activism. He’s a regular fixture at protests all over upstate New York and around the country.
Cromwell has been getting arrested at protests since the 1970s. He was first arrested at a May Day protest in 1971, which also marked his first night in a jail cell. Many short stints in jail after being arrested at protests followed.
Cromwell is also a vehement animal rights activist, a passion that was prompted by one of his most famous roles, Farmer Hoggett in the movie “Babe.” He’s an outspoken supporter of PETA and often gets arrested during protests on behalf of the organization.
Just as their characters in Star Trek did, both Cromwell and Hertzler take their beliefs very seriously, and they’re willing to defend them at all costs.