The cable channel has declared itself a voice for millennials, with a “Rise Up” brand for its coverage of activist movements. And today, the Millennials Rose Up.
As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power is used to protestors interrupting her speeches. But what's she's less used to is being asked by event hosts to share the stage with them, and answer their criticisms.
Awkward is one way to describe this very real scenario that went down this afternoon at Fusion's “Rise Up” event in Washington, D.C. “Kind of totally awesome,” muttered one onlooker as Power's eyes widened in incredulity as her interviewer, Fusion's Jorge Ramos, thanked the three red-headed women doing the yelling, and told Power's security detail not to move them away.
It got better. Ramos asked Power to address the claims of the protestors, Anna Kaminski, Anastasia Taylor, and Alli McCracken, who came representing anti-war group Code Pink.
The protesters were very on-message for Fusion's event, a gathering of young activists from around the world under the “Rise Up” brand the cable channel — a joint-venture between Disney-owned ABC and Spanish-language broadcaster Univision — has been attaching to its coverage of protest movements around the world. They raised signs saying “Millennials think you're a war hawk” — a nod to Fusion's self-declared target demographic — while one yelled “we're here to rise up.”
“We're listening, I am listening, and they are listening,” Ramos said in response to the protesters, who appeared at the side of the stage about 15 minutes into Power's interview. Ramos asked them to stay and said that he hoped Power would address their issues.
Visibly flustered, Power repeated a talking point about Obama administration foreign policy, leading to more interruption from the protesters. Ramos called for order, but again said the protestors should stay, earning applause from the crowd.
Power persevered, with more protest to come — this time from the invited guests in the audience. One shouted that she and Obama were overly and blindly supportive of Israel, while another decried Russian intervention in Ukraine. Power became visibly agitated and strode swiftly backstage without talking to anyone when the interview concluded.
The protestors, meanwhile, were greeted with a handshake and smile from Fusion CEO Isaac Lee, and invited to stay for lunch.
“Usually we get kicked out, dragged out, totally manhandled,” Kaminski told BuzzFeed News over a boxed lunch about a half hour after the hoopla. She added that she and her fellow protestors were not invited, rather just “kind of stormed” into the event to say their piece.