I interviewed Medea Benjamin on May 27, 2013 a few days after she'd interrupted President Obama three times in a major speech.
This is part one of a two part interview. Here is a link to the audio podcast.
Rob Kall: OK. Have you prepped or trained other people to do this kind of thing?
Medea Benjamin: Yes. We have a whole cadre of people who have done, and do, this kind of thing. Sometimes, people get scared and just don't do it at the end, and that's fine. Sometimes they do it and it doesn't go too well, in that they don't get too much out. Sometimes folks really feel that they got their message out loud and clear, and were really excited about it, and wanted to do it again. So peoples' reactions are very different.
I remember once there was a woman whom we trained and trained, and she went into the event, and instead of pulling out her banner in front of everybody, she actually went into the bathroom (laughs) and put it up on the bathroom wall; and we were saying, "What? Why did you do that?" and she said it just got too scary there. Some people just feel very intimidated, and rightly so, because these venues can be extremely intimidating, especially when it's during something like a presidential race, and you're in a very partisan atmosphere where everybody is Republican/Right wing, and you're coming up with a totally different message. Or, what's extremely scary is when we do this inside the meetings of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, because that's where you're almost guaranteed that somebody is going to beat up on you. The audience there is very violent.
Rob Kall: Really!
Medea Benjamin: Yes, and we have had people like Rae Abileah, who worked with Code Pink for ten years, a young woman who interrupted Bibi Netanyahu, actually got her neck twisted and had to have over a year of therapy - ended up in the hospital.
Rob Kall: Was there any recourse legally, in terms of the people or person who did that to her?
Medea Benjamin: Yes, because she was brilliant. Instead of just letting it go, she found the person who did it, pursued him, and did a lawsuit against him; and he was forced to settle with her and pay for her medical expenses, and apologize to her.