Hollywood star sorry for outburst against ‘illiterate’ red state
Actress and singer Bette Midler has apologized after causing outrage for describing West Virginia as “poor, illiterate, and strung out” in a political tirade against Senator Joe Manchin.
Midler is one of many liberal activists to blast West Virginia’s Manchin since the Republican senator said he is refusing to support President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan, making it nearly impossible for the massive spending package to pass the Senate any time soon.
Manchin, according to Midler, represents a “population smaller than Brooklyn,” with the star then describing the Southern state as moving “backward.”
“He sold us out. He wants us all to be just like his state, West Virginia. Poor, illiterate and strung out,” Midler tweeted.
What #JoeManchin, who represents a population smaller than Brooklyn, has done to the rest of America, who wants to move forward, not backward, like his state, is horrible. He sold us out. He wants us all to be just like his state, West Virginia. Poor, illiterate and strung out.— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) December 20, 2021
With a population of well over 2 million, the New York borough of Brooklyn has a population count higher than multiple US states.
“I’m just seeing red,” Midler wrote in an attempt to explain her “outburst.”
I apologize to the good people of WVA for my last outburst. I’m just seeing red; #JoeManchin and his whole family are a criminal enterprise. Is he really the best WV has to offer its own citizens? Surely there’s someone there who has the state’s interests at heart, not his own!— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) December 20, 2021
She went on to call Manchin and his family a “criminal enterprise.” In a later tweet, she also accused the senator of lacking a “conscience.”
Critics accused Midler of “angry flailing” and playing directly into “out of touch” stereotypes about Hollywood celebrities expressing scorn for red states.
Bette Midler said what most big city Democrats believe in their heart. If you don’t live where they live, and believe what they believe you are less than them, and they hate you to the core. https://t.co/0vYxPXb5Ac— Matthew Kolken (@mkolken) December 21, 2021
There are 12 states with a smaller population than Brooklyn, represented by 13 democratic senators (including Bernie and Angus King) but only 11 republicans. DC has a third of the population of Brooklyn and you want to make it a state. This is just angry flailing. https://t.co/YgQCUgFSM7— Noam Blum (@neontaster) December 21, 2021
The good thing about dumb liberal celebrities is that they don't know how to mask common liberal sentiments under that thin veneer of condescending intellectual compassion, so you get brute candor like this showing how they actually think: https://t.co/GQ130RP6RO— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 21, 2021
Manchin set off alarm bells with fellow Democrats after telling Fox News on Sunday that negotiations had broken down on Build Back Better. The White House and other Democrats blasted Manchin for his position, which he doubled down on in a later statement, blaming White House staff for driving him to his “wit’s end” during the negotiations.