Twitter Explodes Amid Charge Bernie Sanders Supporters Chanted ‘English Only’ To Civil Rights Icon


Actress America Ferrara posts tweet charging Sanders supporters with disrespectful chant to beloved Hispanic civil rights leader, but video is inconclusive.

America Ferrara late Saturday afternoon posted a tweet accusing Bernie Sanders supporters at a Nevada caucus site repeatedly yelling at 85-year old civil rights icon, and labor and Hispanic leader Dolores Huerta, "English-only."

Ferrara is an Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress best known for her roles in Ugly Betty and How to Train Your Dragon. She and Dolores Huerta are both Hillary Clinton supporters.

BuzzFeed News White House reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro tweeted he had a source who confirmed the ugly attack:

And later, a second source:

Washington Post national political reporter Dave Weigel added to the fury with this tweet:

Weigel also retweeted this:

Almost immediately, given she is a famous actress with nearly 100,000 followers, well-known political figures weighed in, including MSNBC's Joy Ann Reid:

Then Huerta herself took to Twitter:

Twitter quickly exploded in anger:

How did Huerta know the hecklers were Sanders supporters?

ThinkProgress' Alice Ollstein reports Huerta "said it was 'really clear' thanks to the caucus process."

“The room was divided with the Hillary people on one side and the Bernie people on the other,” Huerta said.

“The fellow that was running the caucus said that the first person to come up to the stage could translate, so I went up. Nobody else did,” Huerta told ThinkProgress. “Then the Bernie people started yelling no, no, no. One of their people came up, and I suggested we both translate. But the moderator decided we would have no translation. So the Bernie people preferred we would have no translation just because I was going to do the translating. It’s ridiculous, because if I had said something that wasn’t accurate, I’m sure somebody would have corrected me.”

Huerta also spoke with the Huffington Post, saying, "Shouting 'English-only' -- that is completely against the spirit of everything that we're working for." 

"To deprive these voters at this crucial time of having a translation of what was going on -- this is something they need to know what's taking place," Huerta also told HuffPo. "The caucus is a kind of complicated procedure. So the Bernie supporters would rather them not have any sort of translation rather than have someone like myself, who just happened to be a Hillary supporter, do the translation." 

ABC News Deputy Political Director offers this explanation:

Later, Vox posted this video, noting "the shouts aren't entirely distinct, and it doesn't prove that they were shouting 'English only.'":

Vox's Dara Lind reports, "if the reports of 'English only' chants are true, it could damage" the Sanders campaign "outreach to Latino voters."

It's not just a rebuke to Huerta — who is one of the more iconic Latinas in American political and labor history — or to Latinos. It's a rebuke to the Sanders campaign's concerted effort to reach out to Latino voters in Nevada, including Spanish speakers.

Raw Story adds that someone named Erin Cruz "told the fact-checking site Snopes that she was at the event along with members of a nurses’ union as well as actresses Gabby Hoffman and Susan Sarandon, and said that it was the moderator who asked for “English-only” during the event, and not any Sanders supporter."

Hoffman and Sarandon are both Sanders supporters.


Image by Pitzer College via Flickr and a CC license