Actress and activist Alyssa Milano is refusing to speak at an upcoming Women’s March events unless organizers Tamika D. Mallory and Linda Sarsour denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan for his alleged anti-Semitic remarks.
“Any time that there is any bigotry or anti-Semitism in that respect, it needs to be called out and addressed,” Milano told LGBT magazine The Advocate last week. “I’m disappointed in the leadership of the Women’s March that they haven’t done it adequately.”
Mallory and Sarsour have been criticized for their links to Farrakhan in the past. Earlier this year, Mallory refused to be bullied into denouncing the Muslim leader and angered women’s activists when she attended a Savior’s Day speech by Farrakhan. Milano was among those who called Mallory out for “turning a blind eye to the hate spoken about a group of people.” Others called for her resignation.
At the time Mallory defended her attendance via Twitter. She stated in part,
“I am a Black woman and a mother and while I do the hard work and learn along the way, I also won’t accept abuse and attacks.” She continued. “…I won’t stand for it because I don’t deserve it. I risk my life every day so my Black son & live freely and safely.”
Sarsour also jumped to Mallory’s defense amid the backlash, writing in a lengthy Facebook post in March, “I won’t sit back while a strong, bold, unapologetic, committed Black woman who risks her life every day to speak truth to power, [and] organize and mobilize movements is questioned, berated and abused.”
“We’ll not allow people to play double standards and hold us to standards that they would never hold themselves to…,” Sarsour continued. “We can play the same game too and we know how but we choose to stay focused on the work ahead and the beloved communities we come from.”
Milano told the Advoate she noticed the ladies’ silence on Farrakhan’s comments and would decline an offer to speak at next year’s Women’s March so long as they were involved.
“I would say no at this point,” she said. “Unfortunate that none of them have come forward against him at this point. Or even given a really good reason why to support them.”
Her demands for Women’s March organizers to condemn Farrakhan didn’t blow over well with critics who accused Milano of being a fake ally for African-American women.
“@Alyssa_Milano is now cancelled in my book,” one Black woman wrote on Twitter. “Louis Farrakhan holds no public office and isn’t a rep of Democrats … I’m tired of white women putting up stipulations when it comes to supporting women of color. Yet another campaign hijacked by white women who then want to make demands and be coddled within it.”
“They need to know their foolery and fake support will no longer be wanted or tolerated,” another critic chimed in. “Either they want to listen and learn or continue to be what history has shown them to be … part of the problem.”
“Either you’re an ally or not,” the woman replied. “This picking and choosing struggles isn’t needed.”
The next Women’s March is scheduled for January 19, 2019, and will be called #WomensWave.