The Women's Convention, a gathering organized by leaders of the Women's March movement, apologized Tuesday for planning to have a male speaker address attendees for its opening night later this month, clarifying that he will not be headlining the event.
Convention organizers said last week that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) was the right choice to be a headliner for the first national women's convention in 40 years and speak to 3,000 women and progressive activists. But the move quickly triggered outrage from liberal women and feminists, leading the event's leaders to express regret for their decision.
"We know that it was a painful week for women across the nation," read a statement from the convention's Twitter account addressed to the "Women's March community."
"We realize we added to that pain when we announced Senator Sanders as a speaker at the Women's Convention, and that our announcement gave the impression that he is occupying a central role at the convention," the statement continued.
The statement said "it is important to correct the record" about Sanders' role at the convention, noting that he is not a headliner, but will instead speak on a panel.
"It is important to correct the record: Senator Sanders is not opening or headlining the Women's Convention. He will be speaking on a Friday night panel discussion, Resistance Organizing in the Age of Trump, alongside leading resistance activists," the statement read.
— Women's March (@womensmarch) October 17, 2017
A week earlier, Tamika Mallory, co-founder of Women's March, told USA Today that Sanders "is really in line with the principles of the Women's March," noting that he "is probably one of the most powerful U.S. senators … on progressive issues, women's issues, mobilizing millennials."
The Women's Convention announced that Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) will open the first evening of the convention.
A petition calling for the Women's Convention to reconsider Sanders' role attracted more than 11,000 supporters.
"They have clarified that Sen. Sanders is not headlining or opening, but is speaking on a panel that night. Great work, everyone!" its creator wrote.