Erica Garner Calls ABC Presidential Town Hall A “Full Exploitation Of Black Pain & Grief”

July 16, 2016  |  

On Thursday (July 15) night, Americans sat glued to their television screens, watching ABC’s hotly-anticipated special “The President and the People: A National Conversation.”

For those that were tuned in and simultaneously scrolling through social media timelines, then you know that most weren’t happy with the discussion that took place, stating that issues were glossed over with no real solutions in regards to police brutality and the right to bear arms being brought to the forefront.

Amongst those that weren’t happy with the ABC special, Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, voiced her concerns loud and clear. Erica, whose father died during the execution of a chokehold by a police officer in Staten Island, New York, released a video statement to the Huffington Post after walking out of the taping when ABC producers ignored her questions on air.


“ABC is using black lives as a rating and to get paid,” Garner said. “They guaranteed me that I would be asking the president direct question about what’s going on. I was lied to.”

According to Garner’s political adviser Reggie Harris, the head of Disney, which is ABC’s parent company, personally requested Erica’s presence at the event.

“I had to stage a walkout by myself,” she continued. “And I went out there I had to tell, scream, and eventually  I was able to speak to the president. It’s a shame as black people that we have to yell and become belligerent to have our voices heard.


Garner also took to Twitter, stating that the town hall was a “full exploitation of Black pain and grief.”

Since the controversial incident occurred, ABC released a statement saying: “We took an extra 30 minutes to get to as many people as we could during the town hall. The President spoke to several people after the event ended, including at length with Erica Garner.”

But Garner claims that was not a part of the agreement, explaining that her questions would be asked on air.

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, was also in attendance of the event, and was also displeased with the direction of the town hall.

“We denounce the ABC Town Hall ― it wasn’t a town hall,” Cullors said. “I’m upset with ABC and how they handled it. They curated a town hall that forced black people to be re-traumatized and didn’t allow for a real constructive conversation about what we’re going to do about race issues in this country.”

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