I applaud those working for social justice but there are some so-called social justice warriors that poison all hope for any real positive change. They are those who mindlessly hurl false accusations of bigotry upon anyone they disagree with. One of these belligerent hateful people is Melissa Byrne, the former California Grassroots Director for the Bernie Sanders campaign.
Madness ensued yesterday after I retweeted the news that Sara Pearl Kenigsberg, a high level Bernie 2020 staffer, announced her new job working for the Joe Biden campaign.
Out of nowhere Byrne, who proclaims to be “always fighting for someone i don’t know” (and knows nothing about me), hatefully spewed false accusations against me regarding a comedy video from over 10 years ago. She told me, “Fuck you racist” and preached to me about her work to build “an inclusive left” just before heaving another toxic shower of slanderous lies and insults.
In the now deleted thread, Byrne went on to praise her Bernie 2020 colleague, Pearl, while repeating expletives and calling me “racist” over, and over, and over again. She eventually explained that she called me racist because according to her I “attacked” Pearl by retweeting her job announcement. (Yes, really).
Byrne also accused me of making her work for the Bernie Sanders campaign “demonstrably harder”. This is rather mental considering I volunteered countless hours making viral videos that typically outperformed the campaign’s own videos (despite the millions of dollars that the campaign poured into making and promoting them). Here’s one of my viral videos being shared by civil rights activist Shaun King.
Due to my videos’ success I was offered and accepted a job on the campaign. Unfortunately, I was maliciously smeared by a political opponent of Bernie Sanders on Twitter. That very same evening, with no legitimate amount of time to defend myself, I lost my job. Now, it’s enlightening to see Bernie Sanders’ own staff gleefully repeating the libel.
Independent journalist, Walker Bragman, attempted to inject some sanity into Byrne’s Twitter rant.
Byrne deflected every attempt at sincere discussion and made multiple comments blaming everything on “men”. “Men just do anything…and then women play clean up and extend emotional labor…Men are never responsible for their actions are they?”
Byrne’s unhinged outrage was extremely revealing. Apparently too revealing because she deleted it all after I kindly asked what exactly she did for the Sanders campaign. Unsurprisingly, she never responded, offered no apology whatsoever, and blocked me.
I wish the full thread was archived so all could see the complete diatribe.
I believe most Bernie supporters and staff were sincere in their desire to make this a better and more inclusive country for everybody (even men!) but there are many more toxic “Byrners” among us besides Melissa.
My encounter with Byrne reminded me of an exchange I had with Bernie 2020 Senior Advisor, Winnie Wong (aka Fred).
Unlike Byrne, and much to Wong’s credit, she did not delete the interaction and sincerely apologized. But if these are our knee jerk responses to each other, there is no way in hell we will ever achieve Universal Healthcare or Universal Basic Income.
If we continue to harshly ostracize each other for politically incorrect flubs made decades ago then we are certainly screwed. And if the only exceptions we make are for people like Joe Biden—a man who knowingly lied us into war, needlessly killing half a million people—then we are especially screwed.
So why are people like Joe Biden absolved from the cancel culture? Why did Biden, a proven liar and war monger, not only get a pass from Bernie leadership but also their endorsement and servitude?
Because they chose to serve power over principle. Power to beat Trump? Sure, that’s part of their rationalization. But let’s not be foolish. While there were surely good intentions too, ultimately Sanders and his staff sought to preserve their own access to power. I witnessed it before my very own eyes, ears, and emails.
Remember that viral video that got me hired—the one that massively outperformed every single previous Bernie 2020 video? The campaign wouldn’t share it on Facebook, Instagram, or elsewhere without a dramatic re-cut. My boss Sara Pearl told me that my first assignment working for the campaign was to cut out the part with Trevor Noah, the host of “The Daily Show”, because it made Noah look bad.
Why would they destroy something proven to be so incredibly effective and helpful to their own campaign to make a talk show host look better? Because Bernie Sanders and his staff prioritized access to powerful people like Joe Biden (& even Trevor fricken Noah…) over actually trying to win an election.
Fittingly, the Senior Producer of “The Daily Show”, Matt Negrin, congratulated Pearl yesterday on her job with the Biden campaign. And on Twitter, they laughed about how much fun they had partying together at last year’s 4th of July party (not long before Pearl ordered me to help Trevor Noah’s image at the Bernie Sanders campaign’s expense).
I do not want to villainize Sara Pearl Kenigsberg. I’m sure she’s a very nice person and just taking orders herself. But the good news is we don’t have to worry about her, she’ll be fine. Because now she’s making a nice salary working for Joe Biden.