Jane Fonda and Ted Turner, who have to be the world’s most amicably divorced couple, took the stage together at the Georgia Aquarium last week at the Em-Power Party to benefit G-CAPP, a cause they both champion.
“It was Ted who inspired me to start this organization and make it possible to continue,” said Fonda of the guy she calls her “favorite ex-husband.” “I love you. I respect you. I admire you.”
She became emotional when saluting Turner’s children, saying,”God bless you. I am so grateful. I may live in California now but you are my family.”
Fonda’s sharp wit quickly returned when she presented Turner with the “Big Thinker Award,” which was a miniature replication of Rodin’s famous sculpture.
“I’ve never seen Ted in this position except on the toilet, where he gets most of his good ideas,” Fonda quipped.
After the presentation, journalist Pat Mitchell moderated a discussion between the two. (In addition to being president and CEO of The Paley Center for Media in New York and the past president and CEO of PBS, Mitchell is related to them both by marriage.) The conversation centered largely on global population control.
“The threat from militaries is minuscule compared to the threat from overpopulation,” Turner said.
Educating and empowering women around the world goes hand in hand with stemming overpopulation, both Turner and Fonda noted. Each cited the slogan, “Hope is the best contraceptive,” in explaining that women with many economic opportunities are likely to choose smaller families.
“The countries that are the most backward and the most behind are the countries that don’t give equal rights to women,” Turner said. “Here in the United States more women are in college than men. More women are in graduate school than men. That’s a tremendous strength for us. There are some countries that don’t want to educate women at all.”
Turner then joked that he has proposed legislation aimed at leveling the gender playing field by “outlawing men from running for public office for 100 years.”
Mitchell followed up by noting that Turner once proposed “ridding the world of testosterone poisoning” but Turner didn’t claim that one.
“I never said that. I said that?” he said, then shrugged. “I used to drink. I said things then that I apologize for.”
During the humorous, candid exchange, Fonda did make a little news, announcing a slight mission and name change for the organization she founded in 1995. Known officially as the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Fonda said the group’s expanded goals mean the name Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential more accurately fits.
“Most teen mothers come from poverty,” Fonda said, noting that teen pregnancy in turn “creates poverty. How to break the cycle: that’s what we’re about.”