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Brexit or Bremain? Celebrities weigh in

In the run-up to June 23, a whole host of organizations, politicians and business leaders have given us their opinions on whether the U.K. should vote to stay or leave the European Union.

But what do our celebrities and cultural icons think? Leading names from the film, music, sports and literature space have come forward in the past few weeks and months, to give us their input.

CNBC looks at just a handful of stars who've made their case on the U.K.'s EU membership.

Film, TV and Music

Remain

In May, over 280 names from the creative industry signed a letter saying "Britain is not just stronger in Europe, it is more imaginative and more creative, and (the U.K.'s) global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away."

Signatories included Patrick Stewart, Benedict Cumberbatch, Helena Bonham Carter, Jude Law, Keira Knightley, and Eddie Izzard.

Benedict Cumberbatch | Keira Knightley | Patrick Stewart
Getty Images: Mike Marsland/WireImage | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images | Allen Berezovsky/WireImage
Benedict Cumberbatch | Keira Knightley | Patrick Stewart

English comedian and TV host, John Oliver appealed to his fellow Brits to vote to remain this week, dedicating 15 minutes of "Last Week Tonight" to the debate and why the U.K. needs the EU.


Actor Daniel Craig has also come out to show his support for the remain vote, while Matt Damon said a Brexit was an "insane idea".

In the music space, leading musicians, Paloma Faith, Elton John and Florence Welch have taken to their social media accounts to declare their support for the Remain campaign.

Vote Leave

Not everyone however wants to stay in the political economic bloc. Comedy legend John Cleese backed a Brexit, saying he'd vote stay if he thought there was "any chance of major reform in the EU."


Meanwhile, Michael Caine told BBC Radio 4 in January that unless there are "some extremely significant changes, (the U.K.) should get out."


Actresses Elizabeth Hurley and Joan Collins have also taken to Twitter this year to voice their support for a U.K. exit. On the music front, The Who's frontman Roger Daltrey told The Sun in May that staying in the EU would "lead to a lot of trouble."

Literature and Science

Authors and poets including Carol Ann Duffy, John le Carré, Ian McEwan, Philip Pullman have backed the Remain camp after they signed a letter in May which stated that a Brexit could put the U.K. at risk of becoming "an outsider shouting from the wings."

Carol Ann Duffy | Ian McEwan | Philip Pullman
Getty: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert | Ulf Andersen | Mark Makela/Corbis Entertainment
Carol Ann Duffy | Ian McEwan | Philip Pullman

Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling has also weighed in on the debate, posting an essay on her website this week about the referendum. In it she said "we should be proud of our enduring desire to join together, seeking better, safer, fairer lives, for ourselves and for millions of others."

Physicist Stephen Hawking, along with some 150-plus fellows of the Royal Society, have said that a vote to leave would be a "disaster for U.K. science", and that the science industry recruited "many of (its) best researchers from continental Europe."

Sports

Remain

On Tuesday, ex-footballer David Beckham was one of the latest stars to announce his desire to stay in the EU, saying that the U.K. "should be facing the problems of the world together (with the EU) and not alone."

Fashion designer, Victoria Beckham backed her husband's decision and announced she was voting to stay in the EU too.

Arsène Wenger, manager of U.K. soccer team Arsenal, was one of many famous cultural icons who signed the "love letter to the British people, from Europe" published in June, declaring his support for the U.K. to stay in the EU.

Retired English footballer, Gary Lineker also weighed in, tweeting that there were "plenty of reasons to remain, but barely any to leave."

Vote Leave

Meanwhile, former England and Arsenal soccer star Sol Campbell has backed a British exit, telling CNBC in April that foreign soccer players were stifling the opportunities of homegrown talent.

In April, U.K. cricket legend Ian Botham wrote in the Sunday Times, that Britain should get "out of the racket" that the EU had become, adding that the country had lost its right to govern itself or make its own laws.

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