Alyssa Milano demands Women’s March leaders condemn Farrakhan—or step down
Alyssa Milano announced that she will not participate in any future Women’s March events unless co-founders Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-Muslim activist, and Tamika Mallory, a Black activist, denounce the anti-Semitic comments of Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan, or step down from the Women’s March leadership.
Earlier this year, Mallory attended a Farrakhan event and posted a picture afterwards with the NOI leader, captioning it with “the GOAT.” Mallory was criticized for her association with Farrakhan and received many hate comments. Sarsour quickly came to her defense.
The Women’s March erupted in response to Donald Trump’s sexist campaign, as the #MeToo movement gained steam in 2017. #MeToo was started and coined by Tarana Burke, a Black civil rights activist fighting against sexual violence, but became popularized in 2017 when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
In an interview with Advocate, Milano says when asked about participating in future Women’s March events, “I would say no at this point. Unfortunate that none of them have come forward against him at this point. Or even given a really good reason why to support them.”
She continued, “Any time that there is any bigotry or anti-Semitism in that respect, it needs to be called out and addressed. I’m disappointed in the leadership of the Women’s March that they haven’t done it adequately.”
Many outlets, such as the New York Post, are applauding Milano’s stance and demanding the co-founders to publicly condemn Farrakhan’s statements. However, others question why the responsibility should fall on Mallory and Sarsour for simply being associated with the NOI leader. Glenn Greenwald, founder of the Intercept, noted the racial dynamic at play and assessed why a white woman would demand women of color to step down from their own projects.
White actress announces boycott of Women's March unless its gets rid of the Palestinian-American woman and African-American woman who founded it, or until they recite from the script she demands. https://t.co/X27aQV2puQ
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 7, 2018
Journalist Tim Wise echoed similar sentiments, writing, “For Nazis, Jews are an evil race driven either genetically or culturally to destroy whites. They are an eternal ‘other.’ For Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam, and random black folks who sometimes say foul shit about Jews, the context is quite different. Indeed, in those cases, the context seems akin to what James Baldwin… wrote in his famous essay, ‘Negroes are Anti-Semitic Because They’re Anti-White.’”
Milano’s public disavowal of the Women’s March for anti-Semitism is also being weaponized to drum up disapproval of Palestinian solidarity efforts as many believe that Sarsour is anti-Semitic for her support of the BDS movement.