Senator and 2020 Presidential candidate Kamala Harris was in San Francisco this past Saturday, June 1, to discuss "student loans for black students" and other topics as part of MoveOn's Big Ideas Forum.
While she was being asked a question about the gender pay gap, however, a white male protestor rushed onto stage and took the mic out of her hand.
Also onstage with Harris was commentator Karine Jean-Pierre who moved to put herself between Harris and the much larger man who rushed onstage toward Harris.
Watch the moment here.
Protester grabs mic from Kamala Harris during California convention www.youtube.com
As you can see, MoveOn's Karine Jean-Pierre, seated next to Harris, immediately leapt in to protect the Senator.
After several moments, security (and Harris's husband Douglas Emhoff) appeared on stage to remove the protestor.
Thx for all the kind notes. We are good. I love @KamalaHarris and would do anything for her. ❤️❤️ https://t.co/2uGIJUTLCf— Doug Emhoff (@Doug Emhoff)1559433864.0
The protestor was later revealed to be a 24-year-old from Oakland.
No charges were filed against him and Twitter users at the event said he could be seen outside after it had concluded trying to garner attention from the media.
The guy who took Kamala Harris’ mic, Aidan Cook, 24 of Oakland, said he’s trying to bring more attention to the mas… https://t.co/Syj0zCaXri— Christopher Cadelago (@Christopher Cadelago)1559434118.0
Many people felt the interruption was the fault of the security team that let a random protestor get so close to the Senator.
Massive #MoveOn fail allowing a protestor to get so close to sitting U.S. Senator Kamara Harris by claiming he was… https://t.co/FG3xHU5rHC— Alphonso Van Marsh (@Alphonso Van Marsh)1559467977.0
We sincerely regret that a protestor was able to gain access to the stage at our forum today & we apologize to Sen.… https://t.co/rKqko73OYr— MoveOn (@MoveOn)1559438231.0
Though the man claimed he had no intention of harming the Senator, many felt what he did was dangerous and incredibly disrespectful.
He didn't help matters with his words to reporters after the event:
I asked Aidan Cook, an animal rights activist who jumped onstage to interrupt Kamala Harris, if he had considered t… https://t.co/pxpU6DV0XE— Lois Beckett (@Lois Beckett)1559432351.0
@loisbeckett If he respected them he would have kept his ass in his seat.— Patricia Arquette (@Patricia Arquette)1559475808.0
Twitter felt that his actions demonstrated his sense of white male privilege, no matter his cause.
That he chose a moment when only women were onstage—and a woman of color held the microphone—angered many online.
He made the choice not to interrupt or pull the microphone from any of the white men who spoke at the event.
This is Aidan Cook. Adam thinks he's privileged enough to disrespect a candidate for the office of President of T… https://t.co/vsLx5xwXqj— raine (@raine)1559444328.0
Here's the man-bun dude who felt entitled to storm Kamala Harris' time on stage and take her mike. He felt this wa… https://t.co/hmfKjGWZn2— ★彡BreitERbart ★彡 (@★彡BreitERbart ★彡)1559436900.0
Many other people couldn't help but admire how quickly and passionately Douglas Emhoff moved to protect his wife.
When the protestor rushed @KamalaHarris at the @MoveOn event, Harris’ husband @douglasemhoff helped pull the… https://t.co/E7qslkrRD4— Kyung Lah (@Kyung Lah)1559435977.0
Nonetheless, there's no denying this embarrassing debacle could have become an absolute nightmare if the protestor had worse intentions.
And it's unclear how far he would have gone to get the microphone if Harris decided not to relinquish it.
All agreed that Senator Harris handled the situation with aplomb, returning to the stage moments after the protestor had been removed while the crowd chanted her name.
i guess that dude seemed semi harmless but kamala just gave the smoothest response to a protestor grabbing the mic… https://t.co/1t9m6EmrBv— cullen (@cullen)1559495766.0
People are praising #KamalaHarris for not flinching. Doesn’t mean she wasn’t scared. The petite woman who stopped t… https://t.co/wb0mBOku6D— Jenee Darden (@Jenee Darden)1559500325.0
No matter what point the man was trying to make, a white male grabbing the mic away from a woman of color at a Q&A event centered around her and the subject of inequality is never a good look.
I can’t stop giggling because this CNN writer considered it of upmost importance to specify the protestor who storm… https://t.co/nTiQ6myK5d— trying my best (@trying my best)1559528376.0
When Harris returned following the interruption, the crowd cheered her on. She told them:
"It's all good. No worries."