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Criticism of Amy Schumer's reaction to her arrest is deliberately short-sighted

‘Needed her Street Cred badge.’

AMY SCHUMER HAS found herself on the receiving end of considerable scorn this morning after footage emerged of her participation in a demonstration against Brett  Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

72nd Annual Tony Awards - Los Angeles Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Hundreds of protesters, including Amy, Emily Ratajkowski and Amber Heard, congregated in Washington yesterday, carrying signs and placards emblazoned with slogans like ‘Believe Women’ and ‘Kava-Nope’, which criticise both Kavanaugh and the system that supports him.

In one video filmed in the vicinity of the Hart Senate Office building, Amy is speaking into the camera saying she thinks she’s going to be arrested, while in another video Amy is seen being asked by a police officer if ‘she wants to be arrested’ to which she replied ‘yes’.

Scorn has been swift on social media, with many insisting that Amy simply wants to insert herself into the situation, in an effort to be seen as ‘relevant’.

Here is Amy Schumer telling cops she wants to be arrested.
Cop asks ‘Do you want to be arrested?’
Schumer: ‘Yes’
Save this for the ‘I can’t believe I was arrested for free speech!’ tweet from her soon.

The criticism which followed was perplexing, with social media users deriding the manner in which the arrest took place.

“Needed her Street Cred badge. Now she can sit with the cool kids,” wrote one person in a post which exemplifies much of the sentiment online.

However, if Amy had declined and turned her back on the protest, you can be absolutely certain that the backlash from those very same people would have been much more intense.

The actress’s contribution to the demonstration would have been undoubtedly and immediately discounted on the grounds that she wasn’t truly willing to put herself on the line.

Cynics would have fallen upon her placard-waving as little more than bandwagoning, and insisted that when it came to the crunch, she was unwilling to go the whole nine yards.

Yes, it was peculiar to hear a police officer ask crowds if they wanted to be arrested, but neither Amy nor Emily have any influence over how a member of authority addresses a group of demonstrators.

It’s quite clear that the underlying subtext of the question was that an arrest would be the outcome should they refuse to leave; and Amy answered the question directly as it was posed, ultimately communicating that she wasn’t willing to leave as some protesters chose to do.

The scorn levelled at her suggests that the actress raced up to members of the force with her wrists extended and a professional photographer in tow, only begging to be arrested for the ‘gram.

As a survivor of sexual assault, it’s likely that Amy is hugely invested in the situation currently unfolding in the United States, and by saying ‘yes’, all she did was communicate that she wanted to remain at the protest, and if that was while ‘under arrest’ then so be it.

With regards the suggestion that Amy may soon take to Twitter to lament the fact she was arrested, maybe she will. 

Perhaps she will find it frustrating that in order to remain at the protest of a decision which affects millions of women in the US, she felt obliged to ‘agree’ to be arrested, but that’s exactly what circumstance dictated.

Indeed, her fellow protestor, Emily Ratajkowski, took to Twitter in the aftermath of the protest, and confirmed that she had been arrested while protesting.

Today I was arrested protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault. Men who hurt women can no longer be placed in positions of power.

Other critics have dismissed the significance of the arrest because footage shows those arrested chatting with one another and engaging with police officers, which cynics feel detracts from the gravity of the situation.

But again, if footage emerged of either Amy or Emily attempting to create some semblance of drama in a relatively peaceful environment, they would be branded disingenuous and accused of manipulating the situation for their own gains.

At a time when women are condemned for not having said ‘no’ clearly enough, Amy’s ‘yes’ speaks volumes.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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