MSNBC host Chris Hayes supported a call for protests at the private residence of a billionaire Trump donor after a guest urged demonstrators to show up at his home with “pitchforks and torches.”
“People of color are already targets under this administration,” Elie Mystal, the executive editor for the “Above The Law” legal blog, told Hayes on Thursday. “I have no problem with shining the light back on the donors who fund this kind of racialized hate. I go farther, I want pitchforks and torches outside this man’s house in the Hamptons.”
“I’ve been to the Hamptons, it’s very nice, but there’s no reason why it has to be,” he continued. “There’s no reason why he should be having his nice, little party. There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be able to be outside of his house and making their voices peacefully understood that they reject this stuff.”
Mystal’s remarks were in reference to billionaire Stephen Ross, who recently held a fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. Ross is the chairman and majority owner of The Related Companies, which owns Equinox and SoulCycle fitness centers.
“Totally,” Hayes responded. “There have been peaceful protests outside [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell’s house and I imagine there will be peaceful protests outside [Ross’s house]. Again, it’s all speech.”
Accordingly, a crowd gathered at the Kentucky senator’s home earlier in the week as he was recovering from a broken shoulder. McConnell’s campaign posted a video of the “angry left-wing mob” that appeared outside his house during the night. On the recording, protesters can be heard wishing harm upon the senator, such as saying they hope somebody would “just stab the motherf***er in the heart” and calling for him to “break his neck.”
“Trump is a bigoted demagogue and we all kind of know that. These people should be ashamed of supporting him. Right? Like, at this point you should basically only be able to contribute to the Trump campaign with bitcoin,” Mystal said. “But Equinox man is holding an ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ party and he’s surprised the people are getting up in his grill.”
“We know that there is no constitutional way to put pressure on these people’s exercise of their money as speech, but there’s darn sure social pressure that we have barely tried,” he continued. “It’s time for us to start trying at least.”
Hayes noted that conservatives are sounding the alarm on the “slippery slope” that could result in the widespread politicization of consumer decisions and subsequent boycotts based on mainstream political beliefs.
“They don’t want free speech, they want consequence-less speech, and that is what we cannot continue to allow them to have,” Mystal responded. “The way you avoid the slippery slope is don’t support people who cage children. Don’t support people who are racist bigots.”
“What we’re asking for is not actually all that much,” he added. “So, I don’t really worry about the slippery slope because I feel like if we have collective action, collective social pressure on our friends, and families, and uncles, and whatever, to stop supporting this ridiculousness, that we will actually get somewhere.”