Mark Ruffalo: I'm Not on the U.S. Terror Watch List
"I’ve never been stopped at the airport and I think that the story has snowballed into this incredibly fantastical thing," he says.
The Kids Are All Right star Mark Ruffalo downplays a report that he's on the U.S. terror watch list.
"I’ve never been stopped at the airport and I think that the story has snowballed into this incredibly fantastical thing,” he tells the Wall Street Journal.
So how did the rumors start?
“At the center, of course, is one small grain of truth, which is that back in September, I was hosting educational screenings of Gasland. Pennsylvania’s Homeland Security was monitoring these screenings and feeding information to the gas industry. And they got busted. It was a huge embarrassment and the head of their Homeland Security had to resign over it," says Ruffalo. RELATED: Watch Ruffalo in The Hollywood Reporter's Actors Roundtable video.
Gasland is about "fraking," the process of drilling for natural gas with a hydraulic fracturing process, which has been called out for contaminating ground water. It won the Documentary Special Jury prize at Sundance earlier this year.
The WSJ confirmed that, according to Pennsylvania Intelligence Bulletin No. 131, Aug. 30, 2010, a screening of Gasland was under scrutiny by the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security.
Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security Director James Powers ended up resigning later for aggressively monitoring private events and groups -- and terror watch bulletins "were canceled at the end of September," says Pennsylvania Emergency Management agency director Robert French.
Maria Finn, the agency’s spokesperson, tells the WSJ, "Nowhere in any of the bulletins is this person’s [Ruffalo's] name mentioned.”
She explained that it's "possible but I have no idea" if Ruffalo's name could be on a federal terror watch list. (The Terrorist Screening Center, which maintains the government's Terrorist Watchlist, did not return comment to the WSJ.)
Ruffalo -- who lives with his wife and three children on a former dairy farm on the New York-Pennsylvania boarder — told the WSJ: "I’m not even an environmentalist. I’m just raising kids and I don’t want them to drink from poisoned well water. The real story for me here is what is Pennsylvania doing, monitoring its own citizens? And citizens of another state [New York], for trying to educate people? That’s the story here: intimidating people."