Following White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s statement that Christine Blasey Ford had been treated like a “Fabergé egg,” an MSNBC host dared Conway to be the egg and share her own sexual assault story.
Anchor Mika Brzezinski lashed out at Conway on Thursday on “Morning Joe,” telling her to “see what it feels like to be treated like a Fabergé egg.” But Brzezinski’s comments prompted intense criticism from others on social media — including from the press secretary for Vice President Pence — saying survivors should never be forced to share and leading Brzezinski to defend her impassioned words.
“So tell us your story. Who is your attacker? Who broke the law? Who hurt you?” Brzezinski addressed Conway on the air, according to Mediaite. “You seemed really uncomfortable when you let that slip out. Your voice got small, your voice cracked, you had to clear your throat. You were really uncomfortable just saying ‘I am a victim of sexual assault.’ And, you know what, I say that as a victim of sexual assault myself. So I want to ask, ‘Why can’t you be the egg, Kellyanne — the Fabergé egg — and tell your story because you say women should be heard.”
A spokeswoman for MSNBC declined to comment.
In the past, Brzezinski has been singled out by the White House in personal and demeaning terms.
Last year, President Trump viciously attacked her on Twitter, calling her “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and saying she had recently had plastic surgery.
On Thursday, Brzezinski was responding to the statement Conway made while speaking to reporters about Ford. Trump mocked Ford at a political rally this week, ridiculing her testimony and laughing with a crowd of thousands, but Conway didn’t see Trump’s remarks in those terms.
“The woman has been accommodated by all of us,” Conway said, claiming that Ford has been “treated like a Fabergé egg by all of us, beginning with me and the president.”
Conway did not respond to a request for comment.
“You say that women should be heard, their stories are believable or credible and understanding and compelling,” Brzezinski said on “Morning Joe.” “Well, let’s hear yours. That’s very convenient to drop that, but I want to know your story. I want to know what happened. You should have justice, shouldn’t you?”
Brzezinski continued: “You can’t just throw that out as a political dagger to protect this reprehensible predator of a president and make an announcement that you’re the victim of a sexual assault, which therefore, for some reason, makes people not ask you about it? If women are being treated like Fabergé eggs when they announce their stories, then you go ahead and tell yours and see how easy it is, okay?
“That was as low as it gets. I would get up and leave if I were you today. I would never want to face the cameras again, unless you’re willing to tell your story just like Dr. Ford did, okay? And see what it feels like to be treated like a Fabergé egg, as you say. You have such great, quick, tight little points that you want to just throw out there. This one’s not going to fly. You can’t use being a victim of sexual assault, throw it out there, and then literally dirty, sully the name of someone who has stepped in front of the cameras before the United States of America and told her story.”
Following Brzezinski’s on-air rant, other political commentators took to Twitter, questioning whether survivors should be pressured to share their stories.
Greta Van Susteren wrote that it is “terrible to try to force women to reveal details about sexual assault if they do not want to tell details.” CNN anchor Chris Cuomo asked: “Is this fair? Should an alleged victim be forced to come forward?”
Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, criticized Brzezinski’s remarks, writing, “Mika attacking @KellyannePolls for sharing her experience with sexual assault & claiming it was political is one of the ugliest things I’ve seen.”
Brzezinski responded harshly to her critics with a series of tweets, many of which she has since deleted.
Brzezinski also addressed Cuomo, telling him: “You have offended me as a competitor and a woman And as a victim of a violent sexual assault. I demand an apology. This is below us. Or at least I thought it was. You should apologize.”
Then: “And Chris, instead Playing for the next interview on Twitter… Why don’t you apologize because you were way off, Wrong flat out… And misleading. Your job is to get the facts right and you were wrong and you should apologize.”
Then: “As a victim of a violent sexual assault myself, I would never force anyone to come forward… You need to actually read and listen to what I said… Might be hard when you’re so quick to tweet.”
Later in the morning, Cuomo said he was removing his original tweet.
“This is the best point made today,” Brzezinski responded. “Let’s leave it there. I took my tweets down too.”