Ashley Williams, a 23-year-old queer activist, interrupted Hillary Clinton at a private fundraiser in South Carolina Wednesday, a now-viral video shows.
In the video, Williams can be seen holding a handmade sign that reads, "We have to bring them to heel," a quote from a speech Clinton gave some 20 years ago, where she also described some young men as "super-predators" — with some activists saying that was a racially coded reference to young black men.
While some media are reporting that Williams is affiliated with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, The Washington Post reports that she identifies as an "independent organizer for the movement for black lives."
Williams told the Post that an anonymous donor paid for her and fellow activists to attend the private, unlisted fundraiser, which had a $500-per-person price tag. In the video, Williams emerges from the audience, unfurling her protest sign, standing silently for several seconds before Clinton acknowledges her.
"You have to apologize for mass incarceration," Williams says to Clinton once they women have made eye contact. "I'm not a super-predator, Hillary Clinton."
Clinton initially responds by telling Williams, "OK, fine, we'll talk about it." However, when Williams is undeterred by the candidate's dismissive tone, Clinton becomes visibly frustrated.
"You're being rude," an off-camera observer tells Williams, imploring the protester to let the candidate address her questions.
In turn, Williams responds by repeating her primary argument: "You called black people super-predators. That's rude! ... You owe black people an apology."
"If you'll give me a chance to talk, I'll address your questions," Clinton tells Williams as the demonstrator is being removed. Clinton also contends that "no one has ever asked me" about the 1996 comments that Williams was referencing.
Those comments were made during what the Post calls "the height of anxiety during her husband's administration about the high rates of crime and violence." In 1996, Clinton described some young men as "often the kinds of kids that are called 'super-predators.' [They have] no conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel."
As Williams is escorted to the door, Clinton returns her focus to supporters, saying, "OK, now back to the issues."
Speaking with the Post, Williams said Clinton's reaction to her interruption was on par with her expectations:
"As a black queer person, I understand how I don’t always get to be in control of how I’m perceived in spaces. I’m especially not always in control of the way I'm perceived when I'm raising my voice to speak out against injustices. So I’m not surprised that I was told that I was being rude."
Watch the interaction between Williams and Clinton below, via the Post.