Did LeVar Burton Threaten to Punch Members of Moms for Liberty?

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Is it okay to threaten to throw a punch at someone with whom you disagree but a phony book ban is beyond the pale? Asking for a friend.

Hollywood celeb LeVar Burton hosted the 74th annual National Book Awards in New York on Wednesday night. He opened the evening with a slam against Moms for Liberty.


“Before we get going, are there any Moms for Liberty in the house?” he asked an audience at the Cipriani & Wall Street Broadcast in New York.

“Moms for Liberty? No? Good. Then hands will not need to be thrown tonight.”

We can laugh and assume that was a joke but was it? Those assumptions can’t be made these days with so many unhinged people among us. The left and their pals in the media turned a movement to improve what is being taught to school children and protect their innocence, especially in early grades, into a trope about book banning. Leftists despise Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, for example, because he supports age-appropriate materials used in classrooms. There is no reason to bring gender or sexual discussions into a classroom of Kindergarteners.

Moms for Liberty was founded in 2021 by three women with experience serving on school boards. One of them, Bridget Ziegler, is the wife of the Florida Republican Party Chairman Christian Ziegler. The group caught on in popularity and its conservative values rattle leftists and authoritarians in schools who want to indoctrinate children by normalizing the LGBTQ agenda, no matter how extreme. Yet, Moms for Liberty is called an extreme group. It has many local chapters across the country. It is hard to overstate how frustrated parents are with what is going on in schools today.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeled Moms for Liberty as an anti-government extremist group. That is what SPLC does to any group with which they disagree and it usually is only conservatives. They are totally out of touch with average American families on this issue.


The book ban trope began when parents demanded that inappropriate books be taken out of classrooms of young students and made available to older students. The left and their fellow leftists in the media immediately began calling this move banning books. No books were banned. They were made available to older children. If parents want their children to be exposed to more mature books, the parents can check them out of the school library or go to a local bookstore. This is much ado about nothing but the left is obsessed with power grabs. Teacher unions have done great damage to young school children by normalizing the behavior of a small minority of Americans, like drag queens. Drag queens have their place in the entertainment world but that place is for adults, not very young children at story time.

LeVar Burton is a natural to host book award shows. He is known for his advocacy for literacy. He was associated with Reading Rainbow on PBS for years and we were fans of that show when our son was young. It is beyond disappointing that he trashes moms working to improve the reading choices of children in schools now – especially young children.

It isn’t the first time Burton has trashed Moms for Liberty. He voiced great pleasure when some candidates who were endorsed by Moms for Liberty lost recent elections.

“There are bright spots, but these are people who would rather children not know the truth,” he said.

“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.”


Again, it has nothing to do with children being prevented from knowing “the truth.” It has everything to do with when they are taught subject matter.

Another noteworthy moment at the awards event happened when 20 out of 25 award finalists took to the stage. Author Aaliyah Bilal read a statement condemning “the ongoing bombardment of Gaza and call for a humanitarian ceasefire.” So, there’s that.

For reference, “Bilal’s debut collection of short stories, “Temple Folk”, became a finalist for the 2023 National Book Award for Fiction. “Temple Folk” tells of the lives of Black Muslims living in America in the 1970s, including their participation and interaction with The Nation of Islam.”

Everything is political in Biden’s America.

Justin Torres’ novel Blackouts is an ode to the erased and forgotten histories of queer people. It is now the recipient of the National Book Award for fiction. But during his speech Wednesday night, he invited all the other finalists on stage to deliver a collective statement calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

“We oppose the ongoing bombardment of Gaza,” said Aaliayh Bilal, author of the book Temple Folk, standing in front of more than a dozen finalists. “We oppose antisemitism, anti-Palestinian sentiment, and Islamophobia equally, accepting the human dignity of all parties, knowing that further bloodshed does nothing to secure lasting peace in the region.”


Never fear, Oprah put in her two cents, too.

Special guest Oprah Winfrey also mentioned the rise in books being removed from public schools. “To ban books is to strangle off what sustains us and makes us better people,” said Winfrey.

No book bans are happening, Oprah. You know that. It just suits your agenda to say it. We see you. Tell your friend LeVar not to threaten women with physical violence.

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