Conservative activist and author Candace Owens attacked “pea-brained athletes” for standing up against racial injustice, blaming them for the Saturday shooting that left two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies critically injured. She specifically took aim at LeBron James, and called the Black Lives Matter movement a “racist, anti-police” lie.
Owens tweeted on Sunday that the Sept. 12 ambush of two L.A. deputies was the result of “pea-brained” celebrities like James being vocal about police brutality and racial injustice. Black athletes like James and three-time Grand Slam tennis champion Naomi Osaka have publicly condemned police violence and drawn attention the victims of police brutality.
Two L.A. County deputies, a 31-year-old female and a 24-year-old male, were shot by a gunman as they sat in a patrol car in Compton on Saturday evening. Both deputies are in stable condition and expected to survive. The Sheriff’s Office is offering a $100,000 reward for information in the search of the gunman, who is described as a Black man aged 28-30.
The shooting sparked outrage on social media, and the hashtag #BlueLivesMatter trended on Twitter. Video footage of the incident posted online shows the perpetrator approach the patrol car on foot and fire several shots through the window before fleeing.
Owens’ comments refer to a previous tweet by James regarding the death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was gunned down by a white father-son duo while jogging in a South Georgia neighborhood in February.
James has also spoken out against the death of Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake. He wore a shirt that read 8:46 in honor of George Floyd, who died after an officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Osaka also made a statement by sporting different masks with the names of Black victims of police brutality and racial violence as she competed at the recently completed U.S. Open, where she won her third Grand Slam title on Saturday with a three-set victory over Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles final.
Owens has long been critical of the Black Lives Matter movement, calling instances of police brutality “anomalies.” Interestingly, Owens has herself seen fit to call attention to the issue of racial prejudice when it served her needs. Owens once brought a lawsuit against a local school board as a teenager, claiming the Stamford, Connecticut, system did not do enough to protect her from racial harassment in her high school. With the help of the NAACP — which Owens has since referred to as “one of the worst groups for Black people” — she secured a $37,500 settlement in 2008.