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“Reading Rainbow” star LeVar Burton said he would fight conservative group Moms for Liberty while hosting the 74th National Book Awards (NBA) ceremony in New York.
The 66-year-old actor on Wednesday used his opening monologue as the NBA host to call out the parental rights group based out of Florida — formed in response to the COVID restrictions in schools — that’s been labeled an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Yahoo.com reported.
“Before we get going, are there any Moms for Liberty in the house?” Burton asked, while the audience laughed.
“Moms for Liberty?” he repeated. “No? Good. Then hands will not need to be thrown tonight.”
“Before we get going, are there any Moms for Liberty in the house? No? Good. then hands will not need to be thrown tonight.”
— Publishers Weekly (@PublishersWkly) November 16, 2023
Burton, who hosted the children’s show “Reading Rainbow” on PBS for two decades, also talked about the group during his interview with Esquire, when he celebrated learning that “hardly any candidates backed by Moms for Liberty won their races” during the 2023 election.
“These are people who would rather children not know the truth,” Burton told the outlet. “Those kids will never know what they’re missing, but it’s our job to stand up for them, to be their voices and their advocates. That’s what being an elder in this society means to me.”
The “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star previously went on “The View” in 2022 to attack groups like Moms For Liberty who have spoken out about books that contain sexual content in school libraries and certain racial curricula in schools.
“We have this aversion in this country to knowing about our past,” Burton said. “And anything that is unpleasant, we don’t want to deal with.”
“This is not going away,” he added. “Nothing goes away, especially if you ignore it. So, read the books they’re banning. That’s where the good stuff is. If they don’t want you to read it, there’s a reason why.”
In the SPLC’s 2022 annual Year in Hate and Extremism report, it called the group an “extremist” coalition of “far-right antigovernment parents” known for “intimidating and harassing teachers and school officials.”
Moms For Liberty has since promised to sue the (SPLC) for defamation over being labeled an extremist group, as previously reported.