She’s all that ― and we mean it this time.
Let’s travel back to the sweet innocence of 1997 when Rachael Leigh Cook was a box-office star and someone thought it wise to summarize America’s drug problem with a frying pan and an egg.
On the list of cringeworthy things celebrities have done, Cook’s “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” PSA ranks somewhere between George Clooney’s Japanese car spots and Johnny Depp promoting a perfume called Sauvage.
Thankfully, many things have changed since then, including conversations surrounding drug use and mass incarceration. So, Cook and the Drug Policy Alliance teamed up to give the PSA a different spin. Released on 4/20, the new ad campaign takes aim at the war on drugs, instead of the drug users themselves.
“It is gratifying and promising to see the evolution in Rachael Leigh Cook and in the American public over these last 20 years,” Tony Newman, director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. “The war on drugs is a disastrous failure that has ruined millions of peoples’ lives, especially people of color. Let’s hope this ad is seen by as many people as the original and inspires folks to end this unwinnable war.”
The ad parodies its earlier incarnation with Cook holding a frying pan and eggs of two different colors to demonstrate the racial disparities in our criminal justice system when it comes to drug crimes.
“The war on drugs is ruining people’s lives,” Cook says. “It fuels mass incarceration, it targets people of color in greater numbers than their white counterparts. It cripples communities. It costs billions and it doesn’t work. Any questions?”
Watch the original PSA below, and new one above.