Who is Bree Newsome?
Brittany Ann Newsome, known as “Bree,” was one of the two activists who climbed the flagpole at the South Carolina State House to yank down the Confederate flag that flew there. State Capitol police arrested Newsome along with another activist, James Ian Tyson.
Newsome had trained for a week with professional climbers in order to perfect her technique for climbing the flagpole – and she practiced on basketball poles and light posts to prepare. The feat landed her in jail and facing a charge of defacing a monument, which carries a potential penalty of a $5,000 fine and 3 years in prison, although it’s a misdemeanor under South Carolina law.
The flag has since been taken down. Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill into law on July 9 that orders the Confederate battle flag’s removal from Capitol grounds.
So how does Michael Moore factor into all of this?
On June 27, the filmmaker tweeted “Friends of Bree Newsome – I will pay her bail money or any legal fees she has. Please let her know this.” He followed the tweet with two hashtags: #Charleston and #TakeDownTheFlag.
It turned out that his bail money wasn’t necessary – Newsome paid $3,000 to bail herself out of jail, as did Tyson.
The Controversy Surrounding the Confederate Flag
There’s still quite a bit of controversy swirling around the removal of the Confederate flag. Right after Newsome’s arrest, pro-flag demonstrators protested at the State House, and residents aren’t shy about speaking their minds.
“We consider this flag as a flag of heritage, not hate,” said Leland Browder, 75. “I don’t hate anybody. We feel like it’s a part of our history. It’s a part of the South.”
On the other hand, Newsome said, “We removed the flag today because we can’t wait any longer. It’s time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.”
What Do You Think?
South Carolina have removed the Confederate flag from its place at the State House and relegated it to a museum – but do you think that was the right choice? Further, what do you think of Michael Moore’s offer to pay Newsome’s bail and legal fees? Let us know by sharing your thoughts on Facebook.