Friday, June 14, 2013 | Categories: Episodes
Is heckling a form of freedom of expression? (Photo: Allan Rostron)
If a gay rights advocate was hoping for a little back and forth when she heckled the First Lady of the United States this month, she sure was disappointed. Michelle Obama did not take the bait.
Obama gave the heckler two choices: Take the microphone, or listen. The response worked and Obama continued her speech. She, of course, is not the only Obama getting yelled at.
Barack Obama tends to be more patient with hecklers, even during a national security speech in late May.
How to Heckle: A heckler's guide The Guardian
Heckling is probably older than podiums and while many consider it a nuisance, Obama recognizes that protesters have the right to sound off -- and may even have a point.
A brief history of heckling The Guardian
Co-Founder of CodePink, Medea Benjamin
Today, we explore the merits and drawbacks of heckling. Who better to join us than one of America's most high-profile hecklers?
Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of CodePink, a social justice group based in the United States. He was in Sanaa, Yemen.
Executive Director of Samara, Alison Loat
In Canada, heckling is almost institutionalized in parliament and provincial legislatures. The loud, rambunctious debate can be childish and unsettling, but it does encourage a clash of ideas and can help flatten egos.
Samara, a non-partisan organization that does research into politics and parliament in Canada has looked into heckling in the House of Commons. Alison Loat is the co-founder and executive director of Samara and she was in our Toronto studio.
Comedian Maggie Cassella
Politicians reluctantly struggle with unruly hecklers. Entertainers often confront people who think heckling is part of the audience's job. And sometimes that confrontation can kill a career - as it infamously did with Michael Richards, the comic who played Kramer on Seinfeld. His career went up in flames after a face-off with a heckler exploded into a racist tirade.
This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Vanessa Greco.
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Other segments from today's show: