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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Gala in Los Angeles hit a snafu on Saturday when protestors of the Israel-Hamas war interrupted Jill Biden’s keynote address at the Fairmont Century Plaza hotel in Los Angeles.

Just as the first lady started speaking, about five people rose from their seats and began shouting, “Free Palestine.” One held a sign that said, “Queer Jews Say Ceasefire Now.” The evening serves as a major fundraiser for HRC, one of the country’s leading LGBTQ advocacy organizations.

They protestors continued yelling as security ushered them out of the room.

Biden stopped speaking and resumed when the protestors were out of the ballroom.

It was announced earlier this week that Biden would be delivering the keynote remarks during the dinner and awards ceremony.

Earlier in the night, protestors blocked the driveway leading to the hotel’s front entrance on Avenue of the Stars. At one point, some could be heard shouting, “Genocide Joe!”

The evening’s program also includes awards being presented to Jean Smart (“Hacks”) and Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”).

A similar protest – with celebrities including Sara Ramirez (“And Just Like That.”) and Indya Moore (“Pose”) in attendance — was held at HRC’s New York City gala in February. Activists denounced HRC’s ties to weapons manufacturer Northrop Grumman and called on the LGBTQ group to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.

Just days after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, HRC president Kelley Robinson issued a statement regarding the ongoing violence in the Middle East. “The toll on both Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives rises daily. And many in the United States who are Jewish and Muslim recognize that hate-motivated bias and violence will rise here. Antisemitism is wrong. Islamophobia is wrong. Full stop,” the statement said, in part. “[M]any members of our community feel very broken right now. The world is heavy and frightening. And the future is uncertain. This violence is a reminder that the struggle for liberation against extremism, discrimination, and hate is a global struggle. It’s my struggle. It’s your struggle. It’s our struggle.”

Earlier this month, protestors calling for a ceasefire in Gaza also disrupted the Oscars by blocking streets leading to the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. With the A-list crowd scrambling to get into their seats in time, producers delayed the start of the Academy Awards by about five minutes.



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