Actress Rashida Jones found herself facing unexpected criticism early Sunday after she tweeted a #FreeDeray message of support to arrested Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson.
Mckesson, a prominent leader in the BLM movement, was detained during a Saturday night protest in Baton Rouge, where the death of Alton Sterling has inflamed tensions. Mckesson had used Periscope to document the event. He was later charged with “simple obstruction of a highway of commerce,” according to documents posted online. Saturday was Mckesson’s 31st birthday.
He was released late Sunday and told the New York Times he believed he was arrested unlawfully.
But before he was released, the hashtag #FreeDeray quickly trended on Twitter, with a photo (pictured) of a steely-eyed Mckesson becoming an instant meme.
— JohnGotty (@JohnGotty) July 10, 2016
Jones, a former star of NBC’s “The Office,” joined in with her own thoughts.
I wish people would protect the First Amendment with the same fervor as they have the Second Amendment. #FreeDeray
Her message was retweeted more than 15,000 times.
But it also led to a virulent backlash, some of it evidently from pro-gun partisans who took exception to Jones’ mention of the Second Amendment. Others bashed BLM and indulged in race-baiting.
@iamrashidajones Deport him to Africa and send all the BLM savages with him. He cannot assimilate into American culture.
— Dean Dekay91 (@KasraDean) July 10, 2016
@iamrashidajones The First Amendment doesn’t cover violence and illegality any more than the 2nd cover tanks and missiles.
— Davis (@DavisFox118) July 10, 2016
— Kevin Thiele (@KevinBThiele) July 10, 2016