An unlikely figure has been caught up in the heated debate over hate speech in the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque shootings: Chelsea Clinton. Two New York University students confronted Clinton at a vigil for victims Friday night and accused her of contributing to anti-Muslim rhetoric that leads to rampages like the one in New Zealand. The exchange has been widely circulated, and while Clinton has not publicly responded to the controversy, the students—NYU seniors Leen Dweik and Rose Asaf—are doubling down. The details:
- What Clinton said: Last month, Clinton joined those criticizing Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar for comments about Israel they deemed anti-Semitic. Clinton tweeted: “Co-signed as an American. We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.”
- At the vigil: Clinton showed up at the NYU vigil, and Dweik confronted her afterward. (The students have copyrighted video of the exchange, but you can see it via this BuzzFeed link.) “This, right here, is a result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world,” Dweik told Clinton, per USA Today. “And I want you to know that, and I want you to feel that deep down inside. Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.”
- Clinton's response: "I am so sorry that you feel that way," Clinton told Dweik. "It certainly was never my intention. I do believe that words matter. I believe we have to show solidarity with each other."