After a Friday discussion on “The View,” some people are asking if cancel culture has finally gone too far.
The movement has forced companies to shut down for vocalizing support for President Trump, for contributing to Fox News, for donating to Republicans, and now — for taking pictures with conservatives.
During a segment on Friday, progressive activist Van Jones was tasked with having to defend himself for simply taking a photograph with conservative Candace Owens.
As FaithWire reports, co-host Ana Navarro complained to Jones that his taking a photo with Owens was “giving her legitimacy” and lectured that he should not have been smiling with someone who she considers “very hurtful.”
“You did things like taking smiling pictures with Candace Owens, who, I think, is very hurtful. Do you not regret that?” Navarro asked. “Do you not see that you’re giving her legitimacy? You don’t regret taking smiling pictures with Candace Owens?”
He was on the show to talk about the new CNN documentary, “The Reunited States,” which he produced alongside “The View” co-host Meghan McCain. The conversation, though, quickly devolved, showing just how bitterly divided the country is right now.
One of the show’s co-hosts, Sunny Hostin, excoriated Jones for being “a political opportunist,” “a chameleon,” and a man “who provided racial cover for former, disgraced, twice impeached President Trump.” Toward the end of her diatribe against Jones, she declared black Americans “don’t trust you,” particularly because the CNN commentator has been willing to work with Republicans on issues regarding justice and prison reform.
Jones ultimately defended himself by saying, “I’ll take pictures with anybody.” He also explained there was an importance to pursuing unity and collaboration on meaningful issues.
“My entire life has been about bringing people together to solve tough problems for people at the very bottom who don’t have anything. I’ve spent 25 years fighting against the prison system. I have helped to close five abusive prisons. And by working with Republicans at the local, state, and federal level — and yes, including the Trump administration — I have helped to pass 18 bipartisan bills,” Jones explained.
“We got 14,000 people out of the federal prison system with the First Step Act and more to come. We got 70,000 human beings who were suffering in jails and prisons under COVID released under compassionate release — working with Republicans and Democrats,” he continued per the report.
Jones explained results are more important than rhetoric and outcomes more important than optics: “You know, black lives matter. Math matters, too. Eighty percent of black votes are locked up in states that are run in part or whole by Republicans, red states and purple states. So when you can pass a law — as my team has done — in a Louisiana, in a Georgia, in California, Michigan, red states, blue states, and purple states to get people home.”
The people behind bars are not sitting up here worried, saying, “Get me out of prison, Van. But whatever you do, don’t talk to a Republican.” They say, “Get me out of prison.” And I am proud of the fact that my team at the REFORM Alliance, Dream Corps., and Cut50 have been able to work with anybody to get folks home.
At a certain point, we’ve got to stop focusing on rhetoric and look at result.
People may not like everything I’ve said on television, and I try to be balanced. But look at what I have done: Who among my critics have been able to get people together to help folks at the bottom? When we fight like this about everything and you can’t give anybody even a little bit of credit for anything, who it hurts is not the politicians, it’s not the pundits — it’s regular folks who don’t have anything.
I’m never going to apologize for putting the interest of people at the bottom first. People need champions. Whoever is in that White House, you have a responsibility to go in there and advocate, and try to get people home out of prison. I’m going to keep doing it, whoever is in that White House.
Watch the exchange below:
Owens responded to co-hosts in a pair of tweets where she said: “The radical Left wants to unite America by making it a criminal act to smile in pictures with conservatives. Utterly psychotic.”
To add context. Van Jones and I smiled together in a picture at a bi-partisan event attended by both Republicans and Democrats for the First Step Act— prison reform
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) February 5, 2021