Actress and campaigner Alyssa Milano has weighed in on a viral video that appeared to show Make America Great Again-hatted high school boys chanting in the face of a Native American veteran near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“The red MAGA hat is the new white hood," Milano tweeted Sunday, appearing to compare the Trump campaign merchandise to robes worn by the Ku Klux Klan. "Without white boys being able to empathize with other people, humanity will continue to destroy itself.”
The tweet was one of several posted by the actress apparently in reference to hotly debated viral footage of the group of boys from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky. The students were in the capital for an anti-abortion "March for Life" rally, while the Native American campaigner pictured in the video›—Nathan Phillips—was taking part in the Indigenous Peoples' March.
Although the students’ behavior was initially condemned on social and mainstream media, by the boys' school and by lawmaker Deb Haaland, responses to the confrontation shifted as more videos quickly emerged.
Phillips told the Detroit Free Press he had intervened in a standoff between the boys and a few members of a group called the Black Hebrew Israelites. He said he put himself between the two groups to defuse the situation. The students, he added “were in the process of attacking these four black individuals.”
But some have argued the boys' behavior was provoked. “All they’re doing is waiting to get on a bus and they’re being yelled at by grown men. Why are they the bad guys?” parent Jim Wilson told CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor.
The original footage provoked such controversy it was eventually removed by Twitter Monday for breaking the social media site’s rules. As a company spokesperson told The Hill, “Deliberate attempts to manipulate the public conversation on Twitter by using misleading account information is a violation of the Twitter Rules.”
Responding to the controversy surrounding the footage, Milano tweeted Monday: “Let’s not forget—this entire event happened because a group of boys went on a school-sanctioned trip to protest against a woman’s right to her own body and reproductive healthcare. It is not debatable that bigotry was at play from the start.”
The actress, known for her work on The WB's Charmed and controversial Netflix comedy Insatiable, is a prominent champion of women's rights and a vocal critic of President Donald Trump.