The “Human Rights Commissioner” in Palo Alto, California has deleted his Twitter account after fierce backlash from a post in which he defended a woman who berated a man in a Starbucks for wearing a MAGA hat.
In an official statement about the incident, Steven D. Lee said:
The most impactful step we can take to ensure an inclusive America is to resist the policies and actions of the current administration that are exclusionary, dangerous, and contrary to our country’s founding values. This is resistance that, after three years, requires endurance. It is resistance that calls for us to speak up even when our voice is raw from years of calling out. But most importantly, it is a resistance that demands empathy – the same empathy missing from the policies and actions we resist.
He then went on to quote former first lady Michelle Obama’s famous “when they go low, we go high,” comment, which conservatives know is never the case.
This week in Palo Alto, one of our neighbors, beloved by many in our community for her progressive activism, myself included, allowed herself to be pulled down into that muck when she encountered a man wearing a MAGA hat at a Palo Alto Starbucks and chased him out of the store.
Let me be clear. The MAGA hat at its best represents a distorted and inaccurate view of America, its history, and it [sic] place in the world, and, at its worst, is a symbol of hate and everything that is wrong with America today.
He finished with some references to the peaceful resistance of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. The statement was not exactly a repudiation of the woman – Rebecca Mankey’s – actions. For this, Lee was excoriated online, leading to the deletion of his Twitter account. He does not appear to have an active Facebook account anymore, either.
Mankey yelled at the man – identified as Victor – during the incident, repeatedly telling him that “it is not okay to hate brown people,” and attempted to whip up a mob against him. Eventually, she chased him out of the store.
“This woman comes over, and she says ‘Is that a Trump hat?’ I said, ‘I think it is, yes,'” Victor said. He said Mankey then turned to the rest of the Starbucks customers and said, “Hey, everybody. Come over here. Let’s get this guy! He’s a hater! I’m calling him out! He hates brown people. He’s a Nazi.”
After running her mouth online, Mankey was fired from her job at a music store.
“Anybody in Palo Alto know this freak? He was sitting in Starbucks. I think he lives in Palo Alto. He will never forget me and will think seriously about wearing that hat in my town ever again,” she said on Facebook. “If you see him in this hat please confront him. You do not want to be the person who didn’t speak up as we slipped into fascism.”
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