LeVar Burton’s Joke About ‘Throwing Hands’ At Moms for Liberty During National Book Awards Prompts Predictable Response from Organization

Actor and literacy advocate LeVar Burton blasted conservative political organization Moms for Liberty while hosting the annual National Book Awards Ceremony last week, and the group called him out on social media. 

“Before we get going, are there any Moms for Liberty in the house?” Burton joked during the event on Wednesday, Nov. 15. “No? Good. Then hands will not need to be thrown tonight.” 

Sir Patrick Stewart Places His Handprints And Footprints In Cement At TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX
LeVar Burton attends Sir Patrick Stewart placing his handprints and footprints In cement at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on Jan. 13, 2020, in Hollywood, California. (Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images)

The organization, which started in Florida in 2021 but has since expanded, is considered an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center that has played a role in the book banning crisis and spoken out against LGBTQ and race being included in school curriculums.

Their website emphasizes that it is “dedicated to fighting for the survival of America by unifying, educating, and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government.” Burton’s comments come amid a significant push to get books off the shelves. According to PEN America, there were 3,362 instances of booking banning during the 2022-2023 school year, a boost from the previous year.  

Following the ceremony, the organization took to X, formerly known as Twitter, and responded to Burton.

“American moms weep as a childhood favorite, Reading Rainbow, calls for physical attacks against us because we are protecting the innocence of our children,” the group wrote. “@levarburton, why have you sunk so low? Threatening physical violence against women?”

Burton served as a host on the highly popular PBS educational series “Reading Rainbow,” which encouraged the connection between kids and books. During a recent interview on “The View,” the television star touched on the effort to ban children’s books. 

“I’ll be absolutely candid and honest. It’s embarrassing that we are banning books in this country, in this culture and in this day and age,” he said in 2022. “We have this aversion in this country to knowing about our past and anything that is unpleasant, we don’t want to deal with. This is not going away. Nothing goes away especially if you ignore it. So read the books they’re banning. That’s where the good stuff is.”

Burton has consistently taken a strong stance against the book bans. For instance, he spearheaded an open letter signed by a coalition of Hollywood’s biggest stars highlighting that the bans “is not just antithetical to free speech and expression but has a chilling effect on the broader creative field,” The Hill reported in September.

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