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Melissa Harris-Perry Panel Mostly Thinks It Was Wrong for 'GetEQUAL' to Heckle Michelle Obama: VIDEO


Melissa Harris-Perry and her panel took a look at the heckling of Michelle Obama last week by GetEQUAL activist Ellen Sturtz. The panelists, Anthea Butler, Maria Teresa Kumar, Edwina Rogers, and Ezra Klein mostly thought it was the wrong place and the wrong time to do so.


Ellen Sturtz, the activist who heckled FLOTUS, explained herself in a WaPo opinion piece on Saturday.

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  1. Get way to win the battle...and lose the war....

    Posted by: Alan Brickman | Jun 10, 2013 12:47:02 PM

  2. It's not that she is black or the first lady, it is just rude

    Posted by: bructer | Jun 10, 2013 12:49:43 PM

  3. Pointless. They should have talked on not attributing one person or group to an entire movement. If this lady wants to be a heckler, whatever, DEAL WITH IT, YOU ARE THE FIRST LADY AFTER ALL. (And she did deal with it...) but what this panel really wants to ask is if gays deserve equality and rights if they don't behave. Well not exactly that, I assume any talking points show on a major news network to be painfully, tragically, mundane and short sighted.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jun 10, 2013 12:59:46 PM

  4. I absolutely agree. We need to stfu and wait politely until equality is granted to us by our betters. Unfortunately, like Ms. Sturtz, I am sorry I will not be here for the Jubilee.

    Posted by: Lileasy | Jun 10, 2013 1:07:42 PM

  5. Oh my yes. Let's be ever so polite about being second class citizens. Mustn't offend our rulers and/or the straight people who may or may not *grant* us equality if we're good little boys and girls. Don't rock the boat, you'll never get ahead that way. Just ask the AIDS activists.

    Posted by: Kip | Jun 10, 2013 1:24:21 PM

  6. "what this panel really wants to ask is if gays deserve equality and rights if they don't behave."

    ^^^I totally agree with this^^^

    Make no mistake about it, the outrage is ALL about gays/lesbians staying in their "place" and being NICE.

    To be fair, blacks were expected to do the same thing during the black civil rights movement of the 50s and early 60s.

    Posted by: edwin/elg | Jun 10, 2013 1:51:58 PM

  7. Wait... are all of those people straight? Because looking up all their bios if any of them are anything but straight they're not making much noise about it

    So MHP thinks it's ok to line a lot of straight people up round a table to tell gay people to shut up and play nice? Well that's updated my opinion on her

    Posted by: Sparky | Jun 10, 2013 1:55:01 PM

  8. Beware of "friendly" Liberals like Melissa Harris-Perry, whose "support" amounts to little more than patronization of a pet Progressive cause. Yes, you "queers" (MHP's favorite word for LGBT folk) had better behave yourselves, or you'll get your naughty knuckles rapped with a ruler!

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Jun 10, 2013 1:56:04 PM

  9. *sigh* Swell

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Jun 10, 2013 1:57:44 PM

  10. Agree with the comments in the video. Swaggerific.

    Posted by: Chuy | Jun 10, 2013 1:57:45 PM

  11. remember the whole "President Bush sitting and listening to the children's story when he found out the USA was being attacked" thing?

    And how many folks on the Right would say "What was he supposed to do? Get up and freak out and scare the children?"

    No. Because the options are not "silently sit and listen to the rest of the story about the goat or get up and freak out the children by announcing the US is under attack"

    same. deal. here.

    Ms. Sturtz has a point, and a passion. As does FLOTUS. There is a way to to make your passionate point, in a way that is not merely about being "respectful" - but about ensuring that the message is heard.

    With all due respect to Ms. Sturtz, and indeed i have tremendous respect for her, this was the best way to go about it.

    there are all sorts of considerations: your choice of words, your choice of tone, and your choice of when you say it - and during a speech that the First Lady was giving about the nation's children, it was simply not thought out. I understand where Ms. Sturtz is coming from, and support her message. But not the delivery, in those circumstances.
    Many politicians deserve a hecklin'. FLOTUS is, let's be real, not that politician.

    And again, an executive order is not solid enough. A GOP win in 2014 means an executive order, with one stroke of a Republican pen, would negate it all. Much harder for anti-Equality conservatives to waste time and money to go through the courts.


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 10, 2013 2:05:01 PM

  12. Michelle does NOT set policy! She's a public figure, yes, but did not deserve such ugly disrespect! Save the heckling for where it might do the most good - the President Of The United States! Ms. Sturtz showed really poor judgement.

    Posted by: Geoff | Jun 10, 2013 2:25:43 PM

  13. *typo edit: this was NOT the best way to go about it. sorry.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 10, 2013 2:32:28 PM

  14. I mostly agree that the heckling was out-of-place.

    That said, I think Mrs. Obama handled it poorly. You can do what she did exactly once, and this was not a high enough stakes occasion to waste First Lady Bluff on. She has also made herself a target for racist, bigoted, Far Right Tea Party types to see if they can make her blow up and become a stereotypical angry black woman on camera, for a national television audience. She'll be dealing with that from now on.

    I'm a little bit surprised that she handled things this way. It seems beneath her dignity.

    Posted by: Jekkyl not Heckle | Jun 10, 2013 2:42:12 PM

  15. She was "Taken aback" when Michelle Obama reacted to her attack.

    FLOTUS is a tad too "uppity" for Ellen Stutz

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 10, 2013 2:44:01 PM

  16. I think the panel essentially had it right on this issue. Michelle handled the heckling in an effective manner, without cursing Sturtz out and ripping her a new one. As to the executive order, the President has always been less inclined to sign EOs for big issues, favoring instead actual laws passed by Congress for exactly the same reason highlighted by Little Kiwi. Folks were clamoring for an EO to deal with DADT, but Obama knew better, taking the long view.

    Posted by: Albert | Jun 10, 2013 2:58:28 PM

  17. With all respect to Michelle Obama, I think she should have handled this like her husband did recently when he was heckled (twice); he stopped, mentioned that he was the one talking, and the second time he said that he could speak with the heckler after he finished. Of course, everyone complains that he is too much of a negociator, not confrontational enough, etc… Maybe she was just avoiding being cast in the same show. Ms Sturtz could have shown some respect, whether it was Michelle Obama or anyone else. Diplomatic behavior generally works best. I realize that most of you think that these issues need drastic measures, but there is always a time and a place. Martin Luther King handled things in this way to advance civil rights for Afro-Americans, he didn't do too badly.

    Posted by: tinkerbelle | Jun 10, 2013 3:08:53 PM

  18. I'm still curious to know if Michelle Obama spoke personally behind the scenes to any Illinois legislators in favor of marriage equality. And if not, why not.

    Posted by: Whispers Not Shouts | Jun 10, 2013 3:40:42 PM

  19. In June 1941, President Roosevelt issued E.O. 8802 banning discriminatory employment of workers in the defense industries and in government. In July 1948, President Truman signed E.0. 9981 integrating the military. Obviously, these two leaders believed that Executive Orders were an effective means of getting something done. They did not wait around for Congress to take action. I admire President Obama for his many fine qualities, but boldness is not one of them. I understand the President would like Congress to take action on this, but does anyone believe that is likely to happen? This is one time when "leading from behind" will take us nowhere.

    Posted by: Lileasy | Jun 10, 2013 4:19:52 PM

  20. Michelle was there doing fundraising. She was asking the LGBT community to "max out" their contributions. Since she was there asking for money from the LGBT community, it makes perfect sense for someone from the community to inquire about the return on the investment from previous contributions. Barack promised to sign an executive order for workplace protections during his first term. He has not done it yet. If he isn't going to "max out" on policy for the LGBT community, why should the community be expected to "max out" contributions to the party?

    Posted by: anon | Jun 10, 2013 4:41:41 PM

  21. I believe MHP's comments about that there needs to be a give and take between equal parties in the new coalition of the ascendants and that is white gays and lesbians treating people of color in positions of cultural authority like FLOTUS with the same respect given to previous first ladies. I'm sorry, but when I saw the video of Ms. Sturtz heckling the first lady, I went directly to Jan Brewer wagging her finger in the face of the President. So as a person of color, having to deal with the absolute disrespect coming from the right to the first president and first lady that look like me, I was not ready for someone within 'my' community being so disrespectful. And she was taken aback that FLOTUS might have taken exception to her rudeness was laughable. Was she expecting FLOTUS to look submissive and say 'yes am'?

    This was a private fundraiser, Ms. Sturtz could have used the venue to talk with FLOTUS privately or pass along a letter.

    And no one is saying that we need to act as second class citizens - far be it - gays and lesbians have seen an extension of our basic rights evolve faster than any other minority group. Look, I'm old enough that in my lifetime being gay was codified as a mental illness and now I can get married. Think about that. Blacks could not fully vote from that long period between Reconstruction to the Voting Rights Act. Asians could not bring their families to the US until the Asian Exclusion Act was supplanted in 1965.

    So, no we have every right to challenge our allies but they have every right to challenge us back. A larger majority of people of color support marriage equality than whites, what are the white members of the GLBT community doing to combat racism within our own communities? Where are the men on Take Back the Night?

    Posted by: Michael | Jun 10, 2013 5:13:41 PM

  22. Michael: white privilege, white entitlement, and white timetables are a wonderful thing, if you're part of the group.

    Again, Ms. Sturtz is an affluent white woman who really believes that her hill of beans is the Himalayas and it must be addressed immediately, everyone else be damned. The issues of coloreds and poors can take a back seat until she and her ilk have finished attaining what they want.

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 10, 2013 5:16:50 PM

  23. @Stuffed Animal, that 'beware of' can apply to limo lib gay and lesbians as well.

    I don't think the class issues within the gay and lesbian 'activists' groups will ever be successfully addressed, though.

    @Tinkerbelle: Barack the Milquetoast acknowledges the heckler, says he is speaking and tells the heckler he'll speak with her later. Michelle the Angry acknowledges the heckler, says she is speaking, and tells the heckler she'll give her the microphone and let the heckler speak as long as she wants but Michelle will not continue her own speech if that's the choice made.

    Two different tactics offering hecklers the same option at the end.

    Barack can't win, because a certain type of Democrat isn't willing to play long ball.

    I really don't get how anyone can accuse Barack of not doing enough and not being forceful enough, when Michelle proves that if he did take that route his enemies would filet him worse than they do now. Barack knows what he is doing, and white activists need to remember that HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING. Let him work his magic.

    Instead of beating Barack (and Michelle) up, groups like GETEqual need to face up to their upper middle class biases, and direct their attention towards building bridges with the poor and working class while confronting and building bridges with Republicans across the aisle.

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 10, 2013 5:28:30 PM

  24. @ David Ehrenstein, pretty much. The 6-foot tall Nubian Amazon didn't put on a fake smile and kowtow. She also didn't bumrush Sturtz and growl in her face with fists ready to uppercut, though.

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 10, 2013 5:41:14 PM

  25. neeeegreoe

    Posted by: N | Jun 10, 2013 6:33:27 PM

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