Protester Hops Stage, Grabs Kamala Harris's Microphone (WATCH)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Video shows the moment a male animal rights protester grabbed U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris’s microphone as she talked about gender pay equality Saturday at the California Democratic Party State Convention. Harris, who is seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, had been discussing her plan to ensure women are paid equally at the event, which was sponsored by the left-leaning group MoveOn.org. Suddenly, a white man in a long sleeve shirt hopped onto the stage and headed straight for the senator as moderator Karine Jean-Pierre, the organization’s public affairs head, tried to stop him.
“Hey! hey, hey, hey, hey!” Jean-Pierre yells as she got out of her chair and tried to put herself between the man and Harris. But the protester, later identified by media outlets as Aidan Cook, quickly grabbed Harris’ microphone.
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Cook told a stunned audience, including Harris, who walked off stage for a moment until crew members could get a handle on the situation. He said he had a “much bigger idea” that needed her attention. While his message was unclear in the video, the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere told The Hill in a statement Cook was an activist who wanted to urge the senator to support the public’s rescuing of animals over the “factory farms” that it said “abuse animals.”
The “families of ordinary Americans are being endangered, and whistleblowers who expose criminal violations are being targeted,” organization founder Wayne Hsiung said.
He added: “The typical voter — especially in the Democratic Party — doesn’t approve, so we’re asking for the party to end its support for corporate Big Ag,” referring to large agriculture companies.
Security eventually removed Cook from the stage.
“It’s OK, folks, it’s OK. People have their own big ideas,” said DJ Carmen Spindiego.
MoveOn apologized to Harris following the event, tweeting: “We sincerely regret that a protestor was able to gain access to the stage at our forum today & we apologize to Sen. @KamalaHarris.”
The organization later added: that its members were “excited to hear Harris continue to discuss her Big Idea to achieve pay equity.”
MoveOn spokesman Brian Stewart told The Washington Post that Cook was not arrested or detained to his knowledge.
This isn’t the first time Cook has been able to interrupt an event for a presidential hopeful. He also reportedly jumped over a barrier in 2016 during an Oakland rally for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
WATCH: Man takes mic from Kamala Harris while on stage at event https://t.co/SWQWAMs6BG pic.twitter.com/yMMMgz294Y
— The Hill (@thehill) June 2, 2019