A spokesperson for civil rights movement icon and Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia told The Daily Caller that it was “the people” who censored him in Atlanta this weekend. Lewis had attended an “Occupy Atlanta” protest and was ready to speak, but protesters there voted against allowing Lewis to take the microphone. The protesters, in their consensus-driven assembly model, argued that Lewis was no more important than any other person there.
“It’s the voice of the people that decided to not allow him to speak,” Lewis spokeswoman Brenda Jones told TheDC. “He had no right to speak at their event. Why should he have?”
When TheDC asked Jones why Lewis thinks it’s okay for those “Occupy Atlanta” protesters to keep him from speaking even though supporters say he has fought for civil rights for decades, Jones said, “It’s not the same.”
“This wasn’t his event,” she said. “They’re not required to let him speak.”
When TheDC pointed out that civil rights movement leaders have historically spoken at events that weren’t theirs to speak at, Jones responded, “Well, he supports their movement.”
Jones refused to let TheDC speak with Lewis, saying, “He’s already talked to press.”
She’s referring to an interview Lewis gave CNN Radio, during which Lewis doubled down on his support for the “Occupy Wall Street” rallies nationwide. Lewis explained to CNN why he was okay with not being allowed to speak to the crowd.
“Well, the rally was less than half a block from my office,” Lewis said. “I came downstairs and walked across the street to lend my support — to encourage the people — because I support their efforts all across America.”
“I didn’t really ask to speak or request to speak, but several people wanted me to speak,” he added. “They [the protestors] wanted to finish their business and I could speak later, but I didn’t have the time to wait around — I had another engagement across town.”
Because Jones hung up the phone on TheDC and hasn’t answered subsequent requests, it’s unclear what other engagement Lewis was heading to. CNN did not ask.
After a pitch in media attention surrounding Rep. Lewis’ exclusion from speaking, the organization has in turn offered the congressman a chance to speak at another gathering.*
*This article has been updated.