GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis is among the entertainment industry figures speaking out against the rally of white nationalist groups that has sparked violence today in Charlottesville, Va.
Hundreds of protesters from white nationalist organizations have convened in the city that is home to the University of Virginia for a rally dubbed “Unite the Right.” The gathering was designed to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a public park.
News reports today depicted a chaotic scene in Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park, with rally attendees clashing with counter-protesters. Protesters on both sides appeared to be armed with weapons and pepper spray. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency as law enforcement struggles to contain brawling in the streets.
Videos spreading across social media from the gathering showed a large group of rally attendees using an anti-LGBTQ slur, chanting “F— you, f—-t.” It was one of many displays of unvarnished racism and hate from rally attendees.
Ellis put some of the blame for the strife in Charlottesville on President Donald Trump and his political agenda. She also criticized President Trump for his silence on the rally.
“GLAAD and countless LGBTQ Americans stand firmly together with other marginalized communities to denounce these disgusting threats and cowardly fear tactics,” Ellis told Variety. “This is the dangerous culture that having a Bully in Chief in the White House has created. President Trump needs to take a break from the golf course and denounce these hate rallies immediately with clear and strong language.”
Ellis also had a message for those who are on the receiving end of rally attendees’ venom.
“To the young Americans in Charlottesville who are LGBTQ or people of color: you are loved and you are perfect the way you are,” she said.