Reminiscent of the signs at the center of Martin McDonagh’s Oscar contender, each billboard calls out the industry in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. “We all knew and still no arrests,” one reads, followed by “And the Oscar for the biggest pedophile goes to…” and “Name names on stage or shut the hell up!”
Three Billboards stars Frances McDormand as a mother who attacks local law enforcement with three incendiary signs when they fail to track down her daughter’s rapist and killer. As Sabo tells EW over the phone, he was struck by the second sign in the film (“And still no arrests?”) and how no one accused of sexual assault in Hollywood has been arrested.
“My ultimate goal for these billboards is that maybe I might break the actors’ façade during the [Oscars] show because I know that if they had it their way, they would act as if nothing was going on and nothing happened, and they would have their show and be done with it,” he says.
Harvey Weinstein had been accused by numerous women of sexual harassment and sexual assault, more recently by Uma Thurman. Though the now-shunned movie mogul has denied any instance of nonconsensual intercourse, the allegations prompted a wave of other claims against prominent men in Hollywood.
Celebrities have spoken out in support of these victims, but “if these people are truly serious about what they’re doing,” Sabo says they will speak out on the Academy Awards stage this Sunday. “Instead of putting down Trump during the show, how about you hold your own industry’s feet to the fire?” he adds.
Sabo previously was part of a group effort to plaster posters of Meryl Streep all over L.A., which implied the actress was well aware of Weinstein’s track record in Hollywood. He also hijacked a billboard for The Greatest Showman to criticize Senator Al Franken, who announced his resignation over sexual misconduct allegations and a photo that appeared to show him going to grope a sleeping woman’s breasts. Sabo altered the ad to make it look as if Franken was grabbing Zendaya, who starred in the film. That was supposed to be the last of his activist signs, Sabo says, but the idea based on Three Billboards came “out of nowhere.”
With the help of unnamed “colleagues” — he jokes they’re younger than him and more physically able to set up the billboards — he was able to quietly crowd fund his latest effort.
One of the three signs in particular points to an issue that hasn’t yet been addressed on such a global scale as #MeToo and Time’s Up: “And the Oscar for biggest pedophile goes to…”