Why do we even have awards shows anymore? Nothing good ever comes of them. Not that we don’t love books, movies, and all of the other forms of entertainment. But the awards shows really aren’t about celebrating the arts anymore. They are about celebrating the people at awards shows.
And now, it seems, they are about celebrating violence as well. This week, at the 74th Annual National Book Awards, host Levar Burton tried his best Will Smith impersonation by issuing a threat against parents’ advocacy group, Moms for Liberty.
“Before we get going, are there any Moms for Liberty in the house? No? Good. then hands will not need to be thrown tonight.”
— Publishers Weekly (@PublishersWkly) November 16, 2023
Now, it’s clear that Burton was making a joke … badly. But is this — a veiled threat of Burton hitting women — funny in any way? Only in the awards circuit. And even though we don’t believe that Burton ever actually would hit anyone, it’s clear that this is what is in his heart.
American moms weep as a childhood favorite, Reading Rainbow, calls for physical attacks against us because we are protecting the innocence of our children. @levarburton, why have you sunk so low? Threatening physical violence against women? https://t.co/qui0iP3McW
— Moms for Liberty (@Moms4Liberty) November 16, 2023
We grew up with Reading Rainbow too. And we admired Burton for championing literacy in young people. But all Moms for Liberty is trying to do is keep sexually explicit material away from children in schools. Why does Burton oppose this?
If Burton was still hosting Reading Rainbow, does he think that ‘Gender Queer’ would be a good subject for the show? How about ‘Flamer,’ which graphically depicts sex acts and openly discusses watching pornography?
Nothing to see here… Just @levarburton threatening to beat up moms because they don’t want their kids given p*rn in school https://t.co/qDsG83RIa7
— Chaya Raichik (@ChayaRaichik10) November 17, 2023
Why does LeVar Burton want to show pornography to children? https://t.co/KJeEu72p6n
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 17, 2023
This is not the first time Burton has taken issue with Moms for Liberty. In an interview with Esquire earlier in the week, he said, ‘Those kids will never know what they’re missing, but it’s our job to stand up for them, to be their voices and their advocates. That’s what being an elder in this society means to me.’
And in a 2022 appearance on The View, Burton said, ‘This is not going away. Nothing goes away, especially if you ignore it. So, read the books they’re banning. That’s where the good stuff is. If they don’t want you to read it, there’s a reason why.’
Excuse us … the good stuff? Again, we are talking about pornographic books. Shown to young children.
The best we can hope is that Burton is completely unaware of the nature of the books he’s talking about. The worst case — that he does know and still says these things — is far more horrible.
But Twitter wasn’t letting Burton off the hook so easily. Some had a little fun with the Reading Rainbow theme song.
🎶Butterfly in the sky
I’ll punch a lady in the eye
a right hook, that’s all it took
A reading rainbow 🎶 https://t.co/PUZIrn1ofC
— Dr. Richard Harambe (@Richard_Harambe) November 17, 2023
Butterfly in the sky
LeVar Burton’s high
Wants porn in school
Thinks grooming’s cool
He’s a pedo https://t.co/Pc7OjYLR27
— Dr Strangetweet Or How I Learned To Love The RT (@lone_rides) November 17, 2023
Others were clear to point out that, joking or not, Burton was advocating that violence is OK if you disagree with someone.
Don’t forget kiddos, violence directed towards certain people or groups is not only acceptable but encouraged within “polite” society…seriously, just check out the comments attached to the Tweet that @PublishersWkly thought was acceptable to share, even laugh along with https://t.co/75bpJi8CIr
— Peter Wrangel (@PeterWrangel) November 17, 2023
Easy there, OJ.
— U.S. Ministry of Truth (@USMiniTru) November 16, 2023
Violence against women who dare to have opinions. Nice, @levarburton
— Political Sock (@politicalsock) November 17, 2023
Not sure that you want to praise someone who’s itching to beat women.
— That One Guy Who Is Always Right. (@RickLazzarini) November 17, 2023
Hey @levarburton you trying to out Sulu, Sulu?
— Ryan Petty (@rpetty) November 17, 2023
Seriously. Do they put something in the water on the set of Star Trek franchises or something?
Do better, Levar Burton. Do a whole lot better.
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