KPIX CBS SF Bay Area / YouTube Animal Rights Activist Grabs Mic From 1559490883.jpg...
KPIX CBS SF Bay Area / YouTube

A white man interrupts a woman of color while she’s speaking about the gender pay gap. Sounds like a setup from The Onion, right? Somehow, it’s real.

On Saturday afternoon, Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California and 2020 presidential hopeful, participated in MoveOn’s “Big Ideas Forum” in San Fransisco. About ten minutes into her speech, moderator Stephanie Valencia asked Harris how she would approach ending the gender pay gap. Wonderful and important, right?

To the white man who jumped onto the stage, who literally grabbed Harris’ microphone, it apparently isn’t big or important. He said to the audience, “We were protesting just a few minutes ago asking for your attention to a much bigger idea…” which is so out of touch in context, it’s actually stunning.

He actually, literally inserted himself into someone else’s stage and speaking time to say he had a “much bigger idea” than ending pay inequality. Yikes.

Moderator Karine Jean-Pierre jumped between the protestor and Harris and tried to intervene. Harris appeared calm when he stole the mic from her and then exited the stage. As the senator exited, security lept onto the stage. The protestor resisted, and Douglas Emhoff (Harris’ husband) joined the stage and took the microphone from him.

Harris returned right after, saying, “I’m good, I’m good, it’s all good,” to the audience as they cheered her name. Calm, graceful, and not at all ruffled. That’s great—but she shouldn’t have to deal with this, to begin with. First of all, it’s dangerous. And while she returned and appeared collect, that doesn’t mean this event (or more of them) couldn’t be traumatizing or anxiety-inducing. Do white men need to worry about this happening? Not in the same way as women of color, that’s for sure.
This man’s behavior is white privilege in action. Can you imagine what would happen if a man of color jumped onto a stage and attempted a similar stunt? It’s also, obviously, incredibly sexist. He literally minimized a woman’s speaking time, derailed her subject matter, and stole the microphone from her hands. It’s so on the nose, it feels like a script.
Curious about what was so important to the white guy? Animal rights, apparently. According to CNN, he was removed from the event. And guess what? He wasn’t charged with a thing.
Twitter has a lot of feelings about this whole situation:

Here’s a clip from her actual dialogue, before she was so rudely interrupted:

And here’s a clip of his interruption, courtesy of YouTube:

And if you’d like to read more about Harris’ proposal to end the pay gap, check it out here.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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