Supporters are rallying around Senator Kamala Harris after a man rushed onstage and snatched her microphone during an event in San Francisco on Saturday, interrupting the presidential candidate’s comments on the gender pay gap to declare that he had a “much bigger idea” to discuss.
Her husband, Doug Emhoff, and several others quickly removed the man from the stage at the MoveOn Big Ideas Forum, allowing Harris to continue her discussion with political strategist Stephanie Valencia and Karine Jean-Pierre, the chief public affairs officer at MoveOn, a public policy advocacy group.
The man, later identified as Aidan Cook, is a member of animal rights organization Direct Action Everywhere, according to Slate. He told reporters after the incident that he had hoped to get the senator to answer a question on the need to take action on “factory farms that abuse animals,” an issue that he said “all of the 2020 presidential candidates are ignoring.”
His interruption of Harris and her fellow female panelists was derided by some social media observers as yet another example of a man attempting to “mansplain” issues to women.
When Guardian reporter Lois Beckett asked Cook whether he was aware of the optics of grabbing a microphone away from a woman of color in order to forcibly push his own agenda, Cook said that he was, and that he had “tried to show my profound respect for each of the people onstage.”
I asked Aidan Cook, an animal rights activist who jumped onstage to interrupt Kamala Harris, if he had considered the optics of literally taking the microphone away from women of color.
“I did,” he said. “I tried to show my profound respect for each of the people onstage.” pic.twitter.com/uyMpV82lVP
— Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) June 1, 2019
After the incident, observers took to social media to express their support for the senator:
Nothing about this was OK: Grabbing mic from @KamalaHarris; ignoring other women on stage; insisting his voice mattered more; resisting efforts to usher him off. @K_JeanPierre, you were mighty. @douglasemhoff, you were *that* husband, in the best way. https://t.co/1bu5hjeMXg
— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) June 2, 2019
Clearly, it was crucial that this guy bum rush the stage during the speech of Kamala Harris, the only woman of color running for President.
Because let’s be honest, white men in America historically just don’t have enough forums to have their views heard.
What a putz. pic.twitter.com/SU2hCu5Wxg
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) June 3, 2019
Women of color are constantly disrespected & attacked – even by our so called allies. Unwilling to consider why they chose the moment a black women has the mic to rush the stage & violently grab it, they still call themselves progressive https://t.co/4xoHYyaAl4 via @TheRoot
— Frangela (@frangeladuo) June 2, 2019
Read the full story at Slate.