White House Correspondents’ Dinner Draws Israel-Hamas War Protesters

With this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner being held during the ongoing military conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside the event at the Washington Hilton.

Protesters said they were there “to protest media complicity in genocide” by Israel and to uplift calls from Palestinian journalists to boycott the event, the Intercept’s Prem Thakker reported. Attendees were seen in suits and gowns making their way past and through the protest to enter the event.

Banners held by protesters included “Stand with press in Gaza” and “Stop media complicity in genocide.”

Among other words, protesters chanted “shame on you” at members of the media and others entering the event, as seen in video shared by PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins. In honor of Palestinian journalists who’ve died covering the war, protesters laid out faux bloody press vests outside the dinner. Others laid on the ground to evoke the bodies of journalists who’ve been killed.

Controversial feminist activist group CodePink was among those who shared video from the protests with the message, “Every time the media lies, a journalist in Gaza dies.” It also noted that protesters draped a Palestinian flag out the window of a top-floor room at the hotel where the dinner is being held.

One protester yelled at the camera the “Genocide Joe” nickname for the president that some liberal protesters have used in recent weeks, as well as asserting that he was responsible for 30,000 Palestinian deaths.

Caitlyn Jenner was confronted by demonstrators on video as she made her way into the event.

One protester’s sign featured a New York Times masthead with “Times” crossed out and replaced by “War Crimes.” Other signs took shots at news networks by switching up their acronyms, including “Criminal News Network,” “Cable Bull S–t” and “All Bulls–t Constantly.”

While former MSNBC anchor Mehdi Hasan has attended the dinner for the past two years, he noted that he decided not to attend this year’s event “in solidarity with under-fire Palestinian journalists in Gaza who have called for a boycott.” Hasan joined with Cynthia Nixon, Greta Thunberg, W. Kamau Bell, Bassem Youssef, Spencer Ackerman, Viet Thanh Nguyen and others this week to read the words of Palestinian journalists killed in the war.

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner has frequently drawn protests over the years for a variety of issues, such as climate activists protesting Biden outside last year’s event. However, the protests usually are not as large and don’t include the same intensity as those seen outside this year’s event.

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