MSNBC analyst and host of the “Zerlina Show” on Peacock TV, Zerlina Maxwell, compared Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett to a television character sex slave on Twitter Tuesday.
In the tweet, Maxwell posted a collage of photos showing Barrett at her confirmation hearing wearing a mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Senate chamber and images from scenes in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a TV series based on the Margaret Atwood novel depicting the sexual enslavement of women to repopulate the earth.
“Sorry but this has been on my mind all day,” Maxwell tweeted.
I joke about this, because humor is the only way to handle my anger.
You are attacking her for wearing a mask during a pandemic. You are calling her a sex slave, and yet implicitly BLAMING HER FOR IT, based on nothing other than her religion.
— Tim Carney (@TPCarney) October 13, 2020
Barrett confessed in Tuesday’s hearings that she knew people were attacking her character, her family, and her faith and that she was actively avoiding reading the caricatures about her.
“I’ve tried to be on a media blackout for the sake of my mental health,” Barrett explained. “But you know you can’t keep yourself walled off from everything, and I’m aware of a lot of caricatures that are floating around.”
This answer from Amy Coney Barrett about how it feels to be nominated to the Supreme Court is incredible. It’s very sad and weighty, but also incredible. What a patriot and public servant. Outstanding. pic.twitter.com/QJX0wjcLuT
— Denny Burk (@DennyBurk) October 13, 2020
Even before being officially nominated, activists, organizations, and media outlets have launched attacks on Barrett.
In late September, Reuters pounced on Barrett’s Catholic faith, comparing it to the “dystopian cult-like group depicted in the ‘Handmaid’s Tale'” due to her membership in the Christian community known as People of Praise. Using supposedly qualifying language, Reuters alleged Barrett’s membership in this group to the “totalitarian, male-dominated society” depicted in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Others such as critical race theory activist Ibram X. Kendi attacked Barrett and her husband for adopting two black children from Haiti. He received no reprimand from Democratic members of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption.
“Some White colonizers ‘adopted’ Black children,” Kendi wrote on Twitter. “They ‘civilized’ these ‘savage’ children in the ‘superior’ ways of White people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity.”
In her Tuesday hearing, however, Barrett claimed that her decisions in life were intentional, including having a “multiracial family.”
“I’ve made distinct choices. I’ve decided to pursue a career and have a large family. I have a multiracial family. Our faith is important to us. All of those things are true, but they are my choices,” she explained.
“I have a life brimming with people who’ve made different choices and I’ve never tried in my personal life to impose my choices on them. And the same is true professionally. I apply the law,” Barrett added.
She also noted that the death of George Floyd had a profound effect on her, her husband, and their children which opened up the conversation surrounding race and police brutality in their home.
“Given that I have two black children, that was very, very personal for my family,” said Barrett.
Judge Barrett's response to Senator Durbin's question of what she thought of the George Floyd killing was incredibly moving.pic.twitter.com/k7fIjiRafc
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) October 13, 2020
According to Barrett, the decision to accept her nomination from President Donald Trump was a difficult one due to this extended criticism.
“I don’t think it’s any secret to any of you or to the American people that this is a really difficult, some might say excruciating, process,” Barrett told Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham. “And Jesse and I had a very brief amount of time to make a decision with momentous consequences for our family. We knew that our lives would be combed over for any negative detail, we knew that our face would be a caricature and we knew our family would be attacked. And so we had to decide whether those difficulties would be worth it because what sane person would go through that if there wasn’t a benefit on the other side?”
Barrett, however, said that her commitment to “the rule of law” and “the role of the Supreme Court and dispensing equal justice for all” makes her nomination worth it.
“I’m not the only person who could do this job, but I was asked, and it would be difficult for anyone, so why should I say someone else should do the difficulty if the difficulty is the only reason to say no? I should serve my country, and my family is all in on that because they share my belief and the rule of law,” she said.