The Women’s March is losing staffers left and right amid fallout over its leadership’s refusal to condemn a provocative speech delivered by Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan.
The latest to call it quits is high-profile staffer Alyssa Klein, who abandoned her position as the group’s social media director last week, according to the New York Post. Klein has called Farrakhan a “dangerous troll” and in a March 5 tweet, slammed Women’s March leadership for “turning a blind eye to the hate spoken about a group of people.”
She isn’t the only one fired up over the organization’s favor for the Muslim leader, however. Regional branches in Florida, Washington, D.C., and even Canada have decried the leaders’ unwillingness to speak out against Farrakhan’s offensive rhetoric. Planned Parenthood, one of the movement’s number one sponsors, has already axed co-president Tamika Mallory as a keynote speaker at its conference next month, the New York Post reported.
Mallory was forced to defend herself amid backlash over her attendance at an NOI Savior’s Day event in Chicago last month, during which Farrakhan spoke. The minister, who’s been accused of making anti-Semitic comments in the past, claimed “Satanic” Jews controlled governments all across the world and were behind a “pot plot” to increase marijuana use among African-American men in an effort to feminize them.
“It is impossible for me to agree with every statement or share every viewpoint of the many people who I have worked with or will work with in the future,” Mallory wrote in response to anger over her attendance at the speech. “I do not wish to be held responsible for the words of others when my own history shows that I stand in opposition to them.”
Two other Women’s March leaders, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour, also have ties to Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, drawing the ire of fellow Women’s March activists and feminists.
“If . . . these Women’s March leaders are attending his sermons and cheering him on, they should be called out and removed from their roles immediately,” Brooklyn activist Tali Goldsheft told the New York Post. Goldsheft has since launched an online petition calling for a purge of the movement’s leadership .
Former Women’s March supporter Nisi Jacobs said the organization’s support for Farrakhan felt like “a stab in the back.”
“It feels like someone you trust just punched you in the gut … I’m really wounded,” said Jacobs, 49, who has since started an alternative group called Women’s March for all.
“I’d had enough,” she said.