Alyssa Milano made the ultimate Twitter faux pas over the weekend which saw many social media users mocking the activist actress for her white cisgender privilege.
Milano celebrated International Women's Day on Friday, tweeting support for her "transgender sisters."
She wrote, "My transgender sisters! I am celebrating YOU this #NationalWomensDay!"
My transgender sisters! I am celebrating YOU this #NationalWomensDay!— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa Milano)1552073658.0
While the tweet in itself was fairly innocuous, her response to a fellow social media user's question caused slightly more controversy.
Addressing her original tweet, the user wrote, "Alyssa are you transgender?"
Milano responded, "I'm trans. I'm a person of color. I'm an immigrant. I'm a lesbian. I'm a gay man. I'm the disabled.
"I'm everything," she added. "And so are you, Kirk. Don't be afraid of what you don't know or understand. No one wants to hurt you. We are all just looking for our happily ever after."
I’m trans. I’m a person of color. I’m an immigrant. I’m a lesbian. I’m a gay man. I’m the disabled. I’m everything… https://t.co/Y4qSiycoEK— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa Milano)1552092438.0
What was the backlash?
The backlash was swift and pretty heavy.
One social media user called Milano out for her "gross" and "condescending" response. Another explained that they felt Milano was benefiting from white privilege to be able to make such a remark.
Conservative musician Joy Villa was one of the social media users to take Milano to task over her head-scratching remark.
Villa wrote, "WTF That's not how it works @Alyssa_Milano You don't get to identify as it just because you empathize. Ur not gay, who's been through that life. Ur not a person of color, been through it."
"You are a rich, white celeb who's the worst type of feminist
STOP THIS HYPOCRISY," she added.
WTF That’s not how it works @Alyssa_Milano You don’t get to identify as it just because you empathize. Ur not gay… https://t.co/5evKCVt0hw— Joy Villa (@Joy Villa)1552212034.0
Another social media user wrote, "[I]t's actually not that woke or empowering to others for you to declare yourself a marginalised identity when you aren't ... come on dude."
"No. No. This is not how any of this works. Oppression and intersectionality isn't an outfit that you decide to put on whenever you like," another added.
"No," writer and activist George Johnson wrote. "You are an advocate. Be ok with that. This isn't the way to say you are with us. You can't just fake an experience you don't have. You don't navigate any space like these groups. This is the 'I don't see color' approach which is oppression and erasure."
Another social media user chimed in, pointing out Milano's mistake.
"Look you could have said 'I support' rather than 'I am,'" the user wrote. "Because at the end of the day, you will never face the difficulties a trans woman, or a black woman, or a lesbian will. So saying 'I am' comes off as condescending & gross."
Yet another user could barely conceal her anger over Milano's remarks.
"What the ever living f*** is this able bodied straight rich white b**** talking about?" her tweet read.
How did Milano respond to the backlash?
Milano eventually issued a follow-up statement explaining her tweet, but qualified her original remark in the apology.
"I'm glad this tweet invoked conversation. I'm so sorry it offended some. I see you and hear you. But just a reminder, empathy is not a bad thing. Nuance is important and literal interpretation is not always intended. And I can identify with and not identify as. Both are powerful.
I’m glad this tweet invoked conversation. I’m so sorry it offended some. I see you and hear you. But just a reminde… https://t.co/AQomubC8rd— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa Milano)1552149387.0