Marianne Williamson’s performance during Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, during which she warned of the “dark psychic force” being stirred up by Donald Trump, certainly has people talking. Though many made light of the self-help guru’s New Age-y vibes — “Marianne Williamson is like if the trailer for the movie Cats became a person,” tweeted Jimmy Kimmel — others were charmed, praising her as a refreshing antidote to politics as usual. Despite her jab at his dad, even Donald Trump Jr. pronounced Williamson “amazing.”
People are gonna think that I’m trolling but compared to what else is up on this stage I think Marianne Williamson is actually winning this thing. This is amazing. No question she seems to be drawing the biggest applause of the night.— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 31, 2019
But the buzz over Williamson has also drummed a new wave of backlash. Critics of the spiritual author and presidential hopeful are reacting to her sudden skyrocketing popularity by speaking out against her past statements about weight, mental health and vaccinations. Williamson’s 2012 weight loss guide, A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight, has been accused of promoting unhealthy and fat-shaming attitudes about body image, while her comments about vaccinations and antidepressants have been labeled as “anti-vaxx” and “anti-science,” charges she recently refuted on Twitter.
I am not a cult leader. I am not anti-science (that one is almost funny, given how much I quote Einstein). And I am not an anti-vaxxer. Hoping that if I repeat it 3 to 4 times a day I might penetrate the field of lies created to keep some people out of the conversation.— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) July 23, 2019
Novelist Porochista Khakpour, activist Brittany Packnett, political commentator Ana Marie Cox and author Ijeoma Oluo, who specializes in topics like race, feminism and social justice, were among those expressing concern, with the latter slamming Williamson as a “fat-shaming, anti-vaxx, anti-science scam artist.”
Reminder: we can still be pro-reparations while acknowledging that a fat-shaming, anti-vaxx, anti-science scam artist shouldn't be allowed within 100 yards of the white house.— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) July 31, 2019
No meme is worth the hell every marginalized person has to live for the sake of your lol.— porochista khakpour (@PKhakpour) July 31, 2019
Deleted the tweet praising Williamson’s answer on race.— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) July 31, 2019
She is even more dangerous than i realized. Thanks to all the folks #onhere who quickly educated me.
GRAND OPENING, GRAND CLOSING.https://t.co/HNllHOLqLZ
If you want a “fun” primary maybe we should have some half-time entertainment or something. PS: It’s not that she’s unelectable (I love unelectable candidates!) it’s that some of her ideas are dangerous! Don’t elevate those to a serious platform!— ana marie cox (@anamariecox) July 31, 2019
On the other end of the political spectrum, conservative Ann Coulter mocked Williamson — who has called for reparations be paid to the descendants of slaves — for hosting a 2016 event in which white participants offered apologies to African-Americans. According to CNN, Williamson called the exercise a "spiritual act of racial reconciliation."
FYI: No black person respects a white person who would do this. They may get some laughs out of it, but that's it. https://t.co/BeTArA2bWT— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) July 30, 2019
And for all the ribbing aimed at Williamson, others have pointed out that the 2016 primaries featured another unconventional, often-mocked candidate few took seriously: Donald Trump.
I love seeing the refrains of, "Marianne Williamson is dangerous, but probably not electable," ha ha ha hey do you guys remember about 20 years ago, maybe 25 years ago, there was a year we called "2016," do you remember who became president that year orrrrrr— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) July 31, 2019
Sorry white yoga moms. I love you guys and want you to feel represented. But not this way.— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) July 31, 2019
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