Michelle Obama clashes with heckler at fundraiser

Joel Roberts
June 5, 2013

First lady Michelle Obama threatened to leave a fundraiser Tuesday night unless a heckler stopped interrupting her speech.

Obama was speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a private home in Washington, ABC News reports, when a woman in the audience started shouting in support of an executive order on gay and lesbian rights.

According to pool reports, Obama responded, "One of the things I don’t do well is this," a remark which drew loud applause. She then left the lectern and approached the heckler, telling the woman she could "listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving. You all decide. You have one choice."

The crowd begged for Obama to stay and one woman shouted at the heckler, "You need to go." The protester was then reportedly escorted out of the event.

She was later identified as Ellen Sturtz, 56, an activist for the pro-LGBT rights group GetEQUAL.

Sturtz later told the Huffington Post in an interview that she hadn’t gone to the event intending to interrupt the first lady, but during the course of her speech she decided to speak up.

"I want to talk about the children," she said. "I want to talk about the LGBT young people who are ... being told, directly and indirectly, that they're second-class citizens. I'm tired of it."

Sturtz said she was disappointed in the first lady's response.

"Basically, I was asked by the first lady to be quiet, and I can't be quiet any longer. ... I was surprised by how negative the crowd seemed to be. It was actually a little unsettling and disturbing," said Sturtz.

"She obviously thought she was going to make an example of me or something. I wasn't scared at all."