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OTRC: Lucy Lawless sentenced over oil protest, jokes: 'Toilets are in my future'

Lucy Lawless is pictured in a publciity photo for Starz's 'Spartacus: Vengeance.' / Lawless participates in a Greenpeace protest in February 2012. / Lawless appears in a scene from 'Xena: Warrior Princess.' (Starz / Greenpeace New Zealand / twitter.com/GreenpeaceNZ/status/299400203902001152/photo/1 / Universal Studios)

Lucy Lawless, formerly of "Xena: Warrior Princess" and current star of Starz's "Spartacus" gladiator shows, will not be sent to jail for taking part in a Greenpeace protest on an oil-drilling ship in her native New Zealand, but did receive a sentence that could turn out to be ... smelly.

The actress and seven other activists were on Thursday, February 7, ordered to complete 120 hours of community service and pay a fine for their participation in the demonstration. Lawless says she and the others are "proud" of their actions. She mentioned her community service sentence on Twitter, saying: "I think toilets are in my future."

When asked by a fan on Twitter, "Isn't there nothing more useful to do?," the actress replied: "Sorry, but what could be more useful? Have you ever considered that the people who clean public conveniences deserve to get danger money?"

She and the other activists were arrested in February 2012 after they climbed aboard a 174-foot drilling tower on the Noble Discoverer in Port Taranaki to try to stop the departure of the vessel, which was set to travel to the Arctic to drill five exploratory wells. The actress remained there for four days and in June, she and the others pleaded guilty to trespassing.

The group had faced a maximum punishment of three years in jail.

Shell, which had chartered the ship, says the protest put people in danger needlessly. After her sentence was handed down on Thursday, February 7, Lawless said at a press conference outside of a court in Taranaki. (watch below) that she and the other activists "are proud to have taken part in our attempt to stop Shell's reckless plans to drill for oil in the pristine Arctic."

"Let's embrace clean energy; we're going to have to anyway, so why not do it before they cause a major oil spill in the Arctic, and consign our grandchildren to an uncertain and dangerous world?" she added. "We are all proud of our actions and we stand united and equally responsible for what we did."

In addition to community service, Lawless and the seven other Greenpeace activists were ordered to pay 651 New Zealand dollars ($547) costs to the Port of Taranaki. Shell had sought about 650,000 New Zealand dollars ($545,000) in reparations, a sum the activists' lawyer, Ron Mansfield, had called "excessive and unjustified."


During the protest, Lawless and the demonstrators posted information and videos online. The actress let out her infamous "Xena" battle cry while on board the rig.

"I'm taking direct action with GreenpeaceNZ in peaceful protest against Shell's Arctic oil drilling #savethearctic," she Tweeted on February 23.

The actress, who dubs herself an "eco-warrior" on her Twitter page, had also prepared for police to take action against the group.

"Anticipating imminent arrest so doing final cleanup of camp #savethearctic," she Tweeted. "Will be dissapointed (sic) if we have to leave but will go peacefully. We stand in solidarity with all who love the earth - let's #SavetheArctic from @shell !"

The actress played a gas station attendant in a Shell commercial in the early 1990s (see video).

Lawless Tweeted that it was "day2 on the drill rig when I remembered that I had been in a Shell ad 20yrs ago."

Watch videos of Lucy Lawless on the oil ship and her Shell commercial below.

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