Bette Midler says she tweeted a racially insensitive message without thinking because she was angry after the FBI only “briefly” investigated the sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
On Friday, the 72-year-old icon addressed criticism for tweeting, in part, “Women, are the n-word of the world'” — which she says is a Yoko Ono quote from 1972. (That year, Ono, 85, and her husband, the late John Lennon, made the same comparison in a song from their album Some Time in New York City.)
“The too brief investigation of allegations against Kavanaugh infuriated me,” Midler wrote in her apology. “Angrily I tweeted w/o thinking my choice of words would be enraging to black women who doubly suffer, both by being women and by being black. I am an ally and stand with you; always have. And I apologize.”
On Thursday, the Hocus Pocus star wrote in the since-deleted tweet, “Women, are the n-word of the world.’ Raped, beaten, enslaved, married off, worked like dumb animals; denied education and inheritance; enduring the pain and danger of childbirth and life IN SILENCE for THOUSANDS of years They are the most disrespected creatures on earth.”
Immediately, critics called out that they believe her comment “erased the struggles” of black women and the separate systemic violence and oppression that people of color face.
In another since-deleted tweet, Midler wrote that she “never forgot” Ono’s statement from 1972, adding, “It rang true then, and it rings true today, whether you like it or not. This is not about race, this is about the status of women; THEIR HISTORY.”
Responding to Midler, Twitter users asserted that they thought the sentiment behind Ono’s quote was problematic in the first place.
The FBI investigation into Kavanaugh, 53, wrapped up on Thursday, and senators spent the day reviewing its findings. Some Republicans said they were satisfied with the report, while critics pointed out it was far from a complete investigation.
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Democrats say the White House put numerous restrictions on who the FBI could interview, and the bureau reportedly did not speak with multiple witnesses who say they could corroborate sexual abuse and other allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. (Kavanaugh has denied all of the allegations.)
On Friday, the Senate voted 51-49 to advance Kavanaugh to a final confirmation vote, which should take place on Saturday.