Alyssa Milano Refuses to Speak at Next Women's March, Cites Anti-Semitism

Alyssa Milano / Getty Images
November 7, 2018

Actress Alyssa Milano said in a recent interview that she does not intend to support the Women’s March so long as it defends "bigotry or anti-Semitism." 

In an interview with The Advocate, a gay community magazine, Milano condemned Women’s March organizers Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory for supporting Louis Farrakhan. The Nation of Islam leader has routinely made misogynistic, homophobic, and anti-Semitic comments. "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," Milano said. 

Milano gained national attention through the #MeToo movement. Founded by Tarana Burke, the movement won household recognition after Milano encouraged followers on Twitter to reply "Me too" if they had been "sexually harassed or assaulted."

Milano, a Hollywood actress, has strong bona fides as an activist California Democrat.

She attended a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexual assault while they were in high school, as a guest of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.). The actress said she believed Ford's allegations, which went uncorroborated, and would be at the hearing in "solidarity" with her.

Milano endorsed Rep. Robert Francis O’Rourke (D., Texas), popularly known as "Beto," for president last night.

Milano’s speech at the Women’s March in January was widely praised as "Rousing and Beautiful" by Zimbio and a "highlight" by Glamour. It "Defines Democracy," Bustle wrote.

Asked if she would speak at the March again, Milano said she would not, so long as Sarsour and Mallory were at the helm. "I would say no at this point," she answered. "Unfortunate that none of them have come forward against him at this point. Or even given a really good reason why to support them."

Milano’s criticism of those who abet Farrakhan and those who give him a pass sets her apart from some others in the Democratic Party. Many have downplayed Farrakhan’s importance or ignored fellow progressives’ reluctance to directly address his bigotry, the Washington Free Beacon reported:

President Bill Clinton shared a stage with Farrakhan at Aretha Franklin’s funeral. His daughter Chelsea Clinton, however, called on Democrats to condemn Farrakhan following his "termites" comment.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder posed for a photograph with him at Franklin's funeral.

President Barack Obama posed for a photograph with Farrakhan in 2005. The photographer, Askia Muhammad, admitted earlier this year that he had suppressed the photograph for fear Obama may be tied to Farrakhan during his presidential campaigns. He said the photograph "absolutely would have made a difference."

Linda Sarsour, a leader of the Women’s March and prominent progressive figure, has maintained tiesto Farrakhan. She also has ties to unindicted terror co-conspirators and publicly expressed a wish to "take away" the vagina of an insufficiently progressive woman. She has repeatedly declined to condemn Farrakhan.   

Tamika Mallory, another Women’s March leader, has called Farrakhan the "GOAT," greatest of all time, and defended him on multiple occasions, forcing some of the March’s organizers to apologize to Jewish supporters for the pain she caused.

Rep. Danny Davis (D., Ill.), called Farrakhan "an outstanding human being."

The New Yorker’s Masha Gessen described Farrakhan's connection to the Women's March leaders and how "[He] has been wielding major political influence for two generations."

CNN host Jake Tapper has been one of few mainstream media figures to raise alarm at Farrakhan’s status among Democrats. In a Twitter thread in February, he contrasted Farrakhan from fringe right figures, who have little purchase in American politics. Whereas the KKK’s David Duke and white supremacist Richard Spencer are universally condemned and the target of blanket opprobrium from Republican lawmakers, Tapper said Farrakhan has a "much larger following" among Democrats.

The initial discovery of the Women’s March accommodation for Farrakhan and his adherents prompted what one reporter at BuzzFeed News called an "Anti-Semitism Crisis."

Rabbi Sharon Brous, a speaker at the Women’s March, condemned the anti-Semitism within the march’s ranks. "There is no room in a multifaith, multiethnic coalitional movement for antisemitism, homophobia or transphobia. Full stop," she said in March.

Nevertheless, Sarsour and the Women’s March remain welcome figures on the left. Ben & Jerry’s recently announced it plans to partner with them to produce an anti-Trump ice cream flavor and to donate $25,000 to the Women’s March.

The company brushed off the idea it may be abetting Sarsour’s anti-Semitic views and affiliations. "Thanks for the feedback. We may not agree on everything, but the work that Linda has done to promote women’s rights is undeniably important and we are proud to join her in that effort," the company tweeted in response to a Twitter user who said the "ice cream is tainted with hate."

Instead of supporting the Women’s March, Milano instead told The Advocate she intends to spend her time opposing child separation at the U.S. southern border.