Many are outraged after Bette Midler criticized Melania Trump’s accent during her Republican National Convention (RNC) speech, stating, “Oh God. She still can’t speak English.”
Anyone who has tried to learn a new language as a teen or an adult can attest to its difficulty, and English, as a language, is especially difficult to master for foreign learners. Its idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies in grammar can make anyone’s head spin. So, all praise should be due to the men and women who take on this challenge as adults, including Melania Trump, whose first language is Slovenian.
Actress and singer Bette Midler doesn’t think so.
While watching the RNC, Midler engaged in a tweetstorm. Her statements range from disagreeing with various policy issues to personally, and sometimes viciously, attacking the First Lady. In one post, she stated, “Melania lacks warmth so severely that I just had to turn my AC down.” She also wrote, “I feel bad for anyone who risked coronavirus to sit through this (Melania’s speech in the Rose Garden). Shoulda used your shot on something more exciting and substantial, like nachos.” As part of her tirade, she also took inspiration from her past film role as a centuries-old witch in Hocus Pocus, when she tweeted, “A pox on them all.”
However, there is growing outrage over her tweet criticizing the First Lady’s accent, which, at the time of publication, has 65,000 comments to 41,600 likes.
The condemnation from all sides was swift.
Tina Desiree, whose Twitter handle currently reads Lefty-Desiree McLeftyFace Slaps Otter Pops, wrote, “Oof. That’s ugly and xenophobic. There are plenty of good reasons to criticize her. Don’t do this.”
Mary Margaret Olohan responded, “Are you actually mocking an immigrant who became the First Lady of the United States for her accent?”
Piers Morgan, the controversial British television personality, tweeted, “Oh, God. Bette Midler’s a racist.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., spoke about the situation on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” He stated, “I think that hatred has no place in America. I think that’s the worst of the individual to ever say something like that.”
Despite the outrage, others had defended Midler’s comments in the thread. Some even posted pictures from Melania’s modeling days to continue the attack campaign against her.
Midler has issued a pseudo apology on Twitter, though she did not ask for forgiveness of the First Lady. The post reads, “Well, all hell has broken loose because I said Melania ‘still can’t speak English’ last night. I was wrong to make fun of her accent. America is made up (of) people who speak with all kinds of accents, and they are welcomed always.”
But before she did, she tried to defend her comments. In a tweet, she wrote, “Why not? Just giving them a taste of their own immigrant bashing medicine. I guess they’re not keen.”
Notably, four of the country’s five leading newspapers, including USA Today, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, have not addressed the issue. Only The New York Post has an article about it.
Everyone can likely agree that differences on policy issues is just part of life, but such personal attacks, especially on a woman who is only in the spotlight because her husband became president, should not be acceptable.
Photo from a katz / Shutterstock.com
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