Obama Shuts Down A Heckler & Reminds Everyone Just Whose House They're In
President Obama has had his fair share of hecklers over the years, and sure, being Leader of the Free World means haters gon' hate and resistance should be expected. But throwing shade at someone in their own home is major sign of disrespect in pretty much every culture and society, which is why Obama quickly shut down a heckler at the White House Wednesday. POTUS wasn't going to have any of that, especially in his safe space.
The encounter happened while Obama was in the middle of giving remarks on LGBT rights at a White House event celebrating Pride Month. The heckler was later identified by advocacy group Familia: TQLM as Jennicet Gutiérrez, who is transgender and came to the country illegally. According to the New York Times, she yelled from the back of the room, "President Obama, release all L.G.B.T.Q. immigrants from detention and stop all deportations!"
That's when Obama reminded everybody exactly where they were. "Hey listen, you're in my house," he said, causing the crowd to whoop with laughter. "Shame on you." As the heckling dragged on, attendees erupted in a Jerry Springer-like chant of "O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma," and the president was forced to ask security to remove Gutiérrez.
As soon as she left, Obama joked with the crowd, "As a general rule, I am just fine with a few hecklers but not when I am up in the house," causing nearby Vice President Biden to laugh and dish out an endearing Uncle Joe pat. Obama went on, "My attitude is if you are eating the hors d'oeuvres- you know what I'm saying? And drinking the booze..." Someone from the crowd then yelled, "We love you," and Obama quickly replied, "I love you back."
Hecklers aren't anything new to Obama. From AIDS protesters and Don't Ask, Don't Tell opponents to immigration activists on both sides of the issue, Obama has seen them all. Then there was that Daily Call reporter who hassled Obama during an immigration speech with questions about why the president "favors foreigners over American workers." And of course, who could forget South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson famously shouting "You lie!" in the middle of Obama's speech at a 2009 Congress session.
Freedom of speech, right to assemble — provisions that are all good and guaranteed by the First Amendment, and Obama is usually pretty accommodating to the folks who have something important to say. But look, if you're going to insult someone in their house, even if it's the White House, don't be surprised if you suddenly find yourself on the outside looking in.
Image: Getty Images (1)