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Eugene Levy, from left, Annie Murphy, Daniel Levy and Catherine O'Hara cast members in the Pop TV series 'Schitt's Creek' pose for a portrait in Pasadena, Calif., in January 2018.
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7 Times Schitt’s Creek’s Stars Used Their Fame to Inspire Action

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In its sixth and final season, the beloved Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek swept the comedy category at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards. The show won a total of nine Emmys, the most ever for a comedy in a single year.

Created by the father-and-son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, who both star in the show, Schitt’s Creek chronicles the life of a formerly wealthy family when they are forced to relocate to a small town in the middle of nowhere. 

What began in 2015 as a little-known series with an odd name has become a critically-acclaimed comedy watched by people from all over the world. It has also broken down barriers through its portrayal of LGBTQ+ people and their relationships, impacting millions of viewers by spreading the message of love and acceptance.

The cast of Schitt’s Creek has used their fame to raise awareness for many issues that are important to them. Here are seven times the stars of Schitt’s Creek used their celebrity platform to inspire action.

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1. Dan Levy called on people to vote during Emmy acceptance speech.

When Levy stepped up to the mic to accept the award for Outstanding Comedy Series, he spent his few minutes in the spotlight asking people to spread the series’ message through civic engagement.

“I just wanted to say, for any of you who have not registered to vote, please do so, and then go out and vote, because that is the only way that we are going to have some love and acceptance out there,” he said.

Levy’s call to action came a few days before National Voter Registration Day in the US. With registration deadlines coming up in the next couple weeks, time is running out for people to register and participate in November’s presidential elections.

2. Schitt’s Creek raised funds for food banks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began to rapidly spread in North America in March, the cast of Schitt’s Creek decided to use their platform to raise money for food banks in Canada and the US. As lockdowns disrupted food production and supply chains, and schools that provided meals to students shut down, food insecurity worsened around the world.

On March 31, the show launched a week-long fundraiser called “Schitt’s Creek Gives Back,” during which cast members hosted Instagram Live sessions every day of the week to encourage fans to donate whatever amount they could. 

By the final day of the fundraiser, which coincided with the airing of the series’ final episode, the cast had raised more than $165,000 for Food Banks Canada and Feeding America, surpassing their initial goal of $100,000.

On their fundraising page, the cast had written that they wanted to show people “the same kind of generosity and goodwill that our fans have shown us over the last six years.”

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3. Annie Murphy became a CARE Ambassador to raise awareness for girls’ rights.

Murphy, who plays Alexis Rose on the show, became a CARE Canada Ambassador last year and has been shining light on the issues that women, girls, and Syrian refugees are facing. 

In September 2019, she travelled with CARE to Jordan as her first official action as an ambassador. During the trip, she visited the Azraq refugee camp, which is home to 36,000 Syrian refugees, 60% of whom are children.

In support of CARE Canada’s #TogetherForHerFuture campaign, Murphy created a video and wrote a first-person account about her experience, calling on Canadians to support the rights of girls around the world and bringing renewed awareness to the Syrian refugee crisis.

4. Dan Levy encouraged fans to learn about Indigenous history.

In August, Levy used his platform to encourage fans to join him in learning more about Indigenous history. In a video message on Twitter, he told fans about a free 12-lesson online course he had signed up for at the University of Alberta called Indigenous Canada. The course looks at Indigenous history in Canada, as well as contemporary issues from an Indigenous perspective.

“Because if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to actively relearn history — history that wasn’t taught to us in school — to better understand and contextualize our lives and how we can better support and be of service to each other,” he said.

Levy also planned to host weekly discussions and Q&As with the professor so that the class could delve deeper into the curriculum. 

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5. Dustin Milligan’s birthday wish led to surprise donations.

Milligan, who plays Ted Mullens on the show, celebrated his 35th birthday on July 28 this year by asking fans on social media to donate to several organizations, including Yellowknife Women’s Centre, Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife, Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation, and Nina West Foundation. 

These organizations cover many key issues, including assisting people experiencing homelessness, advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, and supporting Indigenous health care. Many of them are based in Milligan’s hometown, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and were taken by surprise when they saw a peak in donations as a result of Milligan’s referral.

“It’s always a strange thing when through social media you have hundreds of people sort of wishing you a happy birthday, mostly just based on a character that you play on TV,” he told CBC. “I decided that it’s appropriate and it is my responsibility in some ways to use this small platform that I have … to try to bring some awareness to these great organizations in my hometown.”

6. Schitt’s Creek cast joined in on Pride.

Back in 2018, the show’s cast marched in Toronto’s Pride Parade, sporting shirts that read “Into the wine. Not the label.” The iconic line is from season one of the series and encapsulates the show’s powerful message of acceptance and inclusivity.

For this year’s virtual NYC Pride Parade, Dan Levy stood in as one of the grand marshals, and used his speech to highlight the importance of supporting Black trans people and recognizing their contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. He also brought attention to the Transgender District in San Francisco, the first legally recognized transgender district in the world.

7. Fans celebrated Dan Levy’s birthday by fundraising for LGBTQ+ groups.

For two years in a row now, fans have used Levy’s birthday on Aug. 9 to raise money for LGBTQ+ charities. In 2019, the fundraiser resulted in $20,000 for LGBT YouthLine in Ontario, a youth-led support group. This year, for his 37th birthday, fans donated nearly $18,000 to the charity Trans LifeLine, which provides life-changing support to transgender people in the US and Canada.