The senator spoke at the Big Ideas Forum hosted by MoveOn, when Aidan Cook, a white man ran on stage and grabbed the microphone just as Harris was about to answer a question on the gender pay gap in the country.
Cook said he wanted to get the 2020 presidential hopeful’s attention on “a much bigger idea.” He was stopped by the moderator, Karine-Jean Pierre before he was removed by security. Harris reportedly answered the question shortly thereafter.
When later questioned by reporters if Cook took into consideration how it would look for him, a white man, to interrupt a woman of color, Cook said he did think about his actions prior.
“I did, Cook said. “I tried to show my profound respect for each of the people onstage.”
Cook, 24, said he tried to show his respect while grabbing Kampala’s mike by keeping his hands up and telling her “I’m really sorry to be doing this, I just have to ask you an important question.”
— Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) June 1, 2019
Direct Action Everywhere, an animal rights organization, said Cook is an activist who wanted Harris to “support ordinary citizens rescuing animals rather than the factory farms that abuse animals.”
“Families of ordinary Americans are being endangered, and whistleblowers who expose criminal violations are being targeted,” Wayne Hsiung the founder of the group said. “The typical voter — especially in the Democratic Party — doesn’t approve, so we’re asking for the party to end its support for corporate Big Ag,”
News of the incident rippled through Twitter with many upset at the gall of Cook.
Am I the only one who wishes Kamala Harris had gone full MMA and roundhoused that asshat three rows deep into the crowd?
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) June 2, 2019
I’m no Kamala supporter but let me say this: no one bum rushed the stage for any of the non-Black Women candidates. We are always in more danger.
— LeslieMac 🖤 (@LeslieMac) June 2, 2019
Sen Harris has yet to comment on the incident.