After Wendell Pierce was accused of assaulting a couple who supports Bernie Sanders in Atlanta this weekend, the actor has pulled out of a speaking engagement and says he is the victim in the attack.
Pierce, who played Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in HBO’s “Confirmation,” will no longer give the commencement speech at Newark’s Rutgers University on May 18. The college confirmed the news in a press release on their website.
“This morning Rutgers University–Newark was informed by actor and humanitarian Wendell Pierce that in order to assure that commencement 2016 will be a celebration of the accomplishments of its students free of distractions, he is declining to join RU-N and consequently must decline the conferral of an honorary degree.”
Rutgers says journalist Solidad O’Brien will replace the philanthropist.
Since news broke of the incident that occurred late May 14, a police report was filed. The incident did not take place at Atlanta’s Loews Hotel bar as previously reported but on the hotel’s 23rd floor.
The woman alleges Pierce was the aggressor. The Sanders supporter says she was sitting in the hallway of the floor where her room was located when Pierce and his girlfriend got off the elevator. The group began to discuss politics when an argument broke out about Sanders and Hillary Clinton – the latter of whom Pierce supports.
The woman – who did not want to be identified – claims when Pierce began to push her, her friends headed to their hotel room. He allegedly followed and stuck his arm in the doorway of their room, trying to come inside. She claims the group tried to push Pierce out but he grabbed onto her hoodie and ripped it off.
Pierce’s police statement says he did follow the woman and her friends to their room as they argued about Sanders and Clinton. But he stayed outside of the room and that’s when he says they tried to pull him into the room as he ran away.