Despite criticism from the LGBT and Jewish communities, Women's March cochair Tamika Mallory has refused to denounce Louis Farrakhan, a well-known homophobe, transphobe, and an anti-Semite. Mallory sat in the audience while Farrakhan gave a hateful speech in Chicago last week in which he said, "The powerful Jews are my enemy," CNN reports. She also received a shout-out from him and posted about the event on social media.
Louis Farrakhan's bigotry is well documented. Farrakhan is the leader of the Nation of Islam, declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which says, "The deeply racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric of its leaders have earned the NOI a prominent position in the ranks of organized hate."
Farrakhan is an open admirer of Adolf Hitler, having called the genocidal dictator "a great man." In a 2006 speech, Farrakhan said, "It's the wicked Jews, the false Jews, that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality." In 1996, he told a Kansas City crowd, "God don't like men coming to men with lust in their hearts like you should go to a female. ... If you think that the kingdom of God is going to be filled up with that kind of degenerate crap, you're out of your damn mind."
He has also denigrated transgender people by declaring, "The Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men."
Mallory has posted pictures with Farrakhan on Instagram, with captions such as "Thank God this man is still alive and doing well. He is definitely the GOAT [greatest of all time] Happy Birthday @louisfarrakhan!" She has also publicly praised Fidel Castro, who rounded up gay people and put them in concentration camps. He also attempted to hire former Nazi soldiers to train his army.
When criticized about her relationship with Farrakhan, she refused to directly condemn his words or his history of hatred against LGBT and Jewish people. Instead, she tweeted what many perceived as dog whistles that targeted LGBT people and Jews as "enemies of Jesus."
She later tweeted that she is "committed to ending anti-black racism, antisemitism, homophobia, & transphobia" but never said she disagrees with Farrakhan's statements or history of inciting hatred against marginalized groups. The March itself released a statement that "Minister Farrakhan's statements about Jewish, queer, and trans people are not aligned with the Women's March Unity Principles."
But many are still unsatisfied with the response and are calling for Mallory to step down.
Linda Sarsour, another march cochair, has strongly defended Mallory on Facebook, calling her a "Black American Sojourner Truth of our time" in the wake of accusations of anti-Semitism. "I don't think these people have our best interests at heart to make us better people or to disrupt misconceptions or anti-semitism because trashing a strong black woman and holding her accountable for the words of a man is not the way to bring people together." she commented, "What work are we willing to do and are we willing to be open to the true idea that members of the NOI are not all anti-semites? Are we cool with broad brushing a whole group?"